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Developed States Must Show Way Climate Change

Developed States Must Show Way Climate Change

Gordon Brown has called upon the developed nations of the world to take responsibility for the issue of climate change following the publication of a stark UN report.

Speaking to journalists in Downing Street, the PM called the findings a "wake-up call for the world" and said he wanted to see more low carbon homes and businesses helping the UK play its part. The challenge of climate change presented a "huge opportunity" for Britain to "lead the world" in environmentally friendly industries, he said.

In a Downing Street statement, the PM said that climate change posed an "urgent challenge" to mitigate threats not only to the environment but also to "peace and security, prosperity and development".

The PM said:

"The IPCC's measured assessment shows that the world needs to face up to the challenge of climate change, and to do so now...the economic effects of climate change on this scale cannot be ignored, but the costs can be limited if we act early."

The UN-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its Synthesis Report earlier today with clear warnings of an abrupt change in global climate conditions as a result of human activity. The report predicts the loss of Arctic summer ice, an increase in heatwaves and other extreme weather events, and a rise in sea levels of 59cm even before melting ice is taken into account.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said it was vital for all countries to "work together" to tackle the "defining challenge of our age".

Government representatives from around the world will meet in Bali next month to try and thrash out a successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required 36 industrial countries to reduce carbon emissions by an average five pecent by 2012. In today's statement, Mr Brown said the UK approach would focus on securing a deal that was adequate, fair, comprehensive and effective.

The Government released its Climate Change Bill on 15 November with a number of legally binding targets, including a reduction in carbon emissions of at least 60 percent by 2050 against 1990 levels.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn will take part in a live Downing Street webchat on climate change and other issues on 19 November at 17:00 GMT.

***
FULL STATEMENT

Gordon Brown has called upon the developed nations of the world to take responsibility for the issue of climate change

Statement on the IPCC climate change report

The IPCC's measured assessment shows that the world needs to face up to the challenge of climate change, and to do so now. It is clear that climate change poses an urgent challenge, not only a challenge that threatens the environment but also international peace and security, prosperity and development. And as the Stern report showed, the economic effects of climate change on this scale cannot be ignored, but the costs can be limited if we act early.

That is why when the world gathers in Bali in a few weeks time at the UN climate conference, it is vital that we launch negotiations on a comprehensive global agreement on tackling climate change. Britain will go into these talks with an ambitious agenda, building on the example we have set through the climate change bill as the first country to set a legally binding framework to cut carbon emissions.

Our approach at Bali will be based on four key principles:

The first is that a post-2012 agreement must meet the scale of the challenge, with global emissions peaking no later than 10-15 years time and reduced by at least 50 per cent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Second, it must be effective. This means a binding regime, agreed by mutual consent, and the creation of a global carbon market to provide an economic incentive for low carbon investment.

The third principle is fairness. Developed countries have historic responsibility for causing climate change, and have the greatest capacity for reducing emissions. So we must show leadership and take the first and largest responsibility. That is why I am asking the UK's independent climate change committee to report on whether our target of a 60 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050, already greater than most other countries, should be even stronger still. I will be setting out in the next few days some of the further action we will be taking in Britain to reduce carbon emissions, and climate change will be one of the key issues discussed at next week's meeting of Commonwealth leaders.

Fourth, any new agreement must be comprehensive, addressing emissions from land use and deforestation as well as just energy, and addressing the urgent need to help developing countries adapt to the climate change which is now already damaging their development.

Securing agreement based on these principles in the next two years will be an immense task for the international community. But we believe it is possible.

ENDS

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