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Annan Urges Action On Climate Change

Feb 6 2006

Annan Urges Action On Climate Change As He Accepts Environmental Award In Dubai New York,

As he accepted a top global award in Dubai for his work with the environment, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today urged world leaders to use the United Nations-backed Kyoto Protocol to move on climate change and called for governments, businesses and citizens to adopt a new mindset on energy resources.

“Now that the Kyoto Protocol has entered into force, the world has a dynamic tool for stabilizing and reducing emissions and supporting climate-friendly projects in developing counties,” said Mr. Annan, as he accepted the 2005 Global Leadership for Environment award at a gathering of environmental ministers in the United Arab Emirates today.

The Kyoto Protocol is the 1997 landmark treaty designed to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that have been determined to cause global warming. The binding pact, which entered into force last February, requires 35 industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012. At the meeting in Dubai, Mr. Annan also urged leaders, environmental experts and business executives assembling for the two-day UN-sponsored conference to seriously participate in two parallel sets of global talks meant to intensify global action on climate change.

One set of talks involves the parties to the Kyoto Protocol and aims to set binding emission targets for industrialized countries beyond 2012. A second dialogue involves all 189 parties to the broader UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and looks at a wide range of cooperative action among developing countries.

The Secretary-General warned that the world remains “perilously wedded to oil and other fossil fuels,” and called for the use of cleaner technology. “All humankind must get the maximum benefit from every barrel, gallon or litre consumed – much as we try to do with water, where ‘more crop per drop’ is our mantra,” he said.

At the same time, Mr. Annan advocated alternative, renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and biofuel. “The soaring demand for oil is concentrating the minds of the world as never before,” he pointed out.

He emphasized that “everyone has a role” to play in changing the current energy mindset, including governments and businesses. “And let us not forget people power: consumers; voters determined to exercise their democratic rights; legions of citizens' groups and their skill at popular mobilization,” he added.

While in Dubai, the Secretary-General also met with the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.

Mr. Annan also, in remarks to reporters, expressed alarm at the attacks that have taken place following the recent publication of caricatures seen as insulting to Islam. He said he shares the anguish over those cartoons, but added that the incident “cannot justify violence, least of all attacks on innocent people” and appealed to Muslims to accept the apology that has been offered.


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