Concern voiced over climate change

Activists and world leaders comment on issue as UN conference gets under way.

Climate change has emerged as a major international issue in recent years [GALLO/GETTY]

Djimon Hounsou, Hollywood actor, speaking at the opening of the climate change summit

The world’s leading scientists warn that if we continue on our present course; if emissions continue to rise, life on earth – on this pale blue dirt – would be radically … indeed it could cease to exist as we know it.

Barack Obama, US president

We understand the gravity of the climate threat. We are determined to act.

We will meet our responsibility to future generations, but though many of our nations have taken bold action and share in this determination, we did not come here to celebrate progress today.

We came because there’s so much more progress to be made. We came because there’s so much more work to be done. It is work that will not be easy.

Tove Ryding, policy adviser for Greenpeace

He [Obama] has our full support – that is for sure … This is a crucial issue for the economy, and the social aspects are [also] fundamental.

Ryding said that industrialised countries would need to support poorer nations

This is the for future of the people in America, as well as in Africa and the rest of the world. As soon as the US takes leadership again, we will be there to support Obama on his steps forward.

Climate change has a major impact on the most vulnerable countries, and they have a challenge in adapting to climate change.

They need to make sure that their food production, their drinking water – they need to change their whole society in a different way – they need to be ready for the impact of climate change.

This is a challenge for everyone, but we need industrialised countries to support the vulnerable and poor nations that did not cause the problem and actually face the biggest changes.

Ban Ki Moon, UN secretary-general

A successful deal must strengthen the world’s ability to cope with inevitable changes. In particular, it must provide comprehensive support to the most vulnerable.

They have contributed least to this crisis and are suffering first and worst. Failure to reach broad agreement in Copenhagen [where the next UN climate change meeting will take place in December] would be morally inexcusable, economically short-sighted and political unwise.

We cannot go down this road.

Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of UN intergovernmental panel on climate change

My own analysis suggests that at least 12 countries are likely to tend towards becoming failed states [as a result of climate change], and communities in several other states would show potential for serious conflicts due to scarcity of food, water and soil degradation.

Mitigation of emissions is essential and the IPCC has assessed its cost as modest.

Hu Jintao, China’s president and world’s greatest emitter of greenhouse gases

We [China] will endeavour to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level.

The world expects us to make a decision in the face of climate change, an issue which bears on mankind’s survival and development.

At stake in the fight against climate change are the common interests of the entire world.

Out of a sense of responsibility to its own people and people across the world, China fully appreciates the importance and urgency of addressing climate change.

Yukio Hatoyama, Japanese prime minister

For its mid-term goal, Japan will aim to reduce its emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, if compared to the 1990 level.

Japan is prepared to provide more financial and technical assistance than in the past, in accordance with the progress of the international negotiations

Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s president

We are on the path to failure if we continue to act as we have.

France proposes that the heads of state of the major economies, responsible for 80 per cent of emissions … meet in mid-November.

They will need to make clearer commitments to ensure Copenhagen’s success.

Source: Al Jazeera


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