Germany seeks global warming reductions
15 December 2004 , BUENOS AIRES - Germany's environmental minister is attempting to promote bilateral discussions to wrangle down greenhouse emissions at the 10th United Nations conference on climate and global warming. The minister, Juergen Trittin, said he would pursue "ambitious" goals for reducing emissions. Among the many voices outside of government at the conference was a former Greenpeace activist and author, Bjorn Lomborg, who said the world should forget about the difficult task of preventing glo
15 December 2004
BUENOS AIRES - Germany's environmental minister is attempting to promote bilateral discussions to wrangle down greenhouse emissions at the 10th United Nations conference on climate and global warming.
The minister, Juergen Trittin, said he would pursue "ambitious" goals for reducing emissions.
Among the many voices outside of government at the conference was a former Greenpeace activist and author, Bjorn Lomborg, who said the world should forget about the difficult task of preventing global warming. Instead, it should concentrate on social and economic improvements to equip poor countries to deal with the climate change.
Another group, the Climate Action Network, a fusion of global environmental organisations, called upon the European Union to to come together and pave the way for more radical reduction in emissions of greenhouse gasses.
"We call upon the EU ministers to strengthen their targets, to bring global warming below a two-degree increase over pre-industrial times," said Stefan Singer of Climate Action Network.
Before departing for the meeting, Trittin warned that world leaders could not let the Kyoto Convention - a protocol that goes into effect early next year after Russia approved the treaty - expire after 2012, when the first phase ends.
Tritten has targeted the refusal by the United States to join the convention, as the producer of 25 percent of the world's total emissions.
The US under President George Bush withdrew from the agreement and refuses to accept any binding limits on emission rates. US emission rates have increased in that period, experts say.
The activist Singer warned however against pouring too much energy against Bush as the culprit, and called for the EU to cooperate with the US economy and with individual US states to reduce emissions.
Jennifer Morgan of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) charged there was a "low level of urgency at the conference". Climate change and warming were threatening many species, which cannot adapt quickly enough on the changed conditions, she said.
When Canadian caribous, for example, arrive at their birthing places these days, the grass is already dried out, she said. The number of Adelie penguins in the Antarctic region is falling, because the pack ice is thawing.
The European Climate Forum and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK) warned anew of the "catastrophic results" of global warming of more than 2.5 degrees.
Trittin wants to keep global warming under 2 degrees. Experts say carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced by 60 to 80 percent by 2050 to achieve that goal.
Lomborg took a different tack on the problem, calling for the world to ignore global warming and work on the more urgent social problems to prepare developing countries to deal with climate change.
Lomborg, who wrote "Global Crisis, Global Solutions" and "The Skeptical Environmentalist", says that "global warming has become the obsession of our time", according to Cybercast News Service online.
"Climate change is a huge thing, but there is very little that we can do about it," Lomborg was quoted as saying. "We need to stop our obsession with global warming and start dealing with the many more pressing issues in the world, where we can do (the) most good, first and quickest."
Lomborg, an associate professor of statistics at the University of Aarhus in Denmark, has provoked worldwide discussion with his argument that the effects of global warming would be muted in 100 years if poor nations were wealthier and better equipped to deal with climate change.
"Imagine if you were a rich Chinese or a rich Rwandan or a rich Bolivian in 2100, looking back on 2004, saying how odd that the people of 2004 were so concerned about helping me a little bit through climate change and so relatively unconcerned about helping my grandfather and my great grandfather who need the help much, much more."
The UN conference ends on Friday after high level ministerial meetings.
Subject: German news