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 user 2005-03-15 at 9:38:00 am Views: 183
  • #10867

    Ministers Meet in U.K.,Mount Kilimanjaro Shows No Snowcap
    for First Time in 11,000 Years

    LONDON (March 05) – A photo of Mount Kilimanjaro stripped
    of its snowcap for the first time in 11,000 years will be used as dramatic
    testimony for action against global warming as ministers from the world’s
    biggest polluters meet Tuesday.

    Gathering in London for a two-day brainstorming session on
    the environment agenda of Britain’s presidency of the Group of Eight rich
    nations, the environment and energy ministers from 20 countries will be handed a
    book containing the stark image of Africa’s tallest mountain, among others.

    ”This is a wake-up call and an unequivocal message that a
    low-carbon global economy is necessary, achievable and affordable,” said Steve
    Howard of the Climate Group charity which organized the book and an associated

    ”We are breaking climate change out of the environment
    box. This crisis affects all of us. This is a global challenge and we need real
    leadership to address these major problems — and these ministers can give that
    leadership,” he told Reuters.

    The pictures include one of Kilimanjaro almost bare of its
    icecap because of global warming, and coastal defenses in the Marshall Islands
    threatened with swamping from rising sea levels.

    British Prime Minister Tony Blair has vowed to make climate
    change and Africa the twin targets of Britain’s presidencies of both the G8 and
    European Union this year — bringing both to the fore at a summit meeting in
    Gleneagles in Scotland in July.

    The Kyoto Protocol on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases
    came into force in February but is still shunned by the world’s biggest emitter,
    the United States, and puts scant limits on China, rising fast up the ranks.


    Senior officials from both countries will be at the London
    meeting, whose main thrust is how to achieve the environmental Holy Grail of a
    sustainably growing low carbon economy.

    ”There is an attempt to draw the United States in after
    its refusal to sign Kyoto,” said a spokeswoman for environmental pressure group

    ”It is very sensitive given that the developing countries
    are trying to climb the development curve and the developed countries must not
    be seen to be doing anything to hold them back,” she told Reuters.

    A senior official at Britain’s Department of the
    Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is co-organizing the meeting — the
    first of environment and energy ministers from developed and developing nations
    – said the aim was to find common ground.

    ”This is a chance for people to get together and by not
    forcing them to negotiate a very concrete outcome … allow them to explore
    common interests,” she said.

    ”There are plenty of technologies out there which we can
    deploy which can help with that shift (to a low-carbon economy) straight away.
    We know that energy efficiency can already deliver huge carbon savings at a net
    benefit to our society,” she told Reuters.

    British think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research
    has proposed a multi-tiered approach, calling for progressively deeper cuts in
    greenhouse gas emissions by rich nations but more flexible commitments from the
    developing world.

    These should be made against the backdrop of long-term
    efforts to take Kyoto — with the United States and Australia aboard in some
    form — beyond the end of its first phase in 2012, it said.