Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Declarations, warnings and goals dominate climate change news

What will the future hold for these children in Mexico?
The leaders of Canada, Mexico and the United States issued a declaration on climate change at the conclusion of the Three Amigos summit this past weekend in Guadalajara, Mexico.

President Calderón, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper as heads of the three countries meet annually at what is formally known as the North American Leaders’ Summit. Issues of climate change along with H1N1 virus and the economy were the focus of this year's discussions.

The declaration on climate change comes on the heels of United Nations Chief Ban Ki-moon stating that climate change is the most pressing issue facing the planet today. In a keynote address to the Global Environment Forum in his native South Korea, Ban Ki-moon said, "The human suffering will be incalculable," if climate change remains unchecked.

"As we move toward Copenhagen in December, we must seal a climate change deal that secures our common future," added Ban.

The North American leaders declaration addresses the Copenhagen conference. "Building on our respective national efforts, we will show leadership by working swiftly and responsibly to combat climate change as a region and to achieve a successful outcome at the 15th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change," reads the joint statement.

North American Leaders’ Declaration on Climate Change and Clean Energy "recognizes the broad scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C, we support a global goal of reducing global emissions by at least 50 percent compared to 1990 or more recent years by 2050, with developed countries reducing emissions by at least 80 percent compared to 1990 or more recent years by 2050."

The 80 percent reduction in GHG from 1990 levels is the same number and time frame that the G8 countries agreed to at its July meeting in Italy. These distant targets were also agreed to by the House of Representatives in passing the ACES bill last month.

New York Governor David Paterson signed an executive order late last week that establishes a goal to reduce 80 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the state by 2050. The executive order also creates a climate change council.

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