Dec 9th, 2008

Sir David Attenborough, Scarlett Johansson, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are just some of the famous names calling on wealthy nations to take the lead on climate change by making massive cuts in pollution.

Representatives from almost 200 countries have gathered in Poland for the UN Climate Change Conference to decide the format for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

The most contentious issue is whether richer countries will commit to numeric targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In the past the US has refused to sign up to targets, arguing that it will cripple industry.

However a host of celebrities are backing non-governmental organisations in arguing that unless developed countries show the way by making drastic cuts in carbon it will be impossible to persuade developing countries like India and China to stem the growth in fossil-fuel power stations.

A letter drafted by international aid agency Oxfam and signed by 19 celebrities including musician Thom Yorke, actor Gael Garcia Bernal and novelist Ian McEwan is calling on developed nations to sign up for tough targets.

It read: “It is desperately unfair that the poor should again feel the brunt, despite being least responsible.

“Wealthy nations, who are in their advantaged position because of heavy industrialisation, are the most responsible and able to lead the world in tackling climate change. This is why they must show leadership in Poland and provide solutions that have the interests of the world’s poor at their heart.”

The EU has yet to reach agreement on cutting emissions by 20 per cent by 2020 and although US president-elect Barack Obama has signalled he would be willing to sign the US up to targets, he is unable to commit to anything until he takes office next year.

The letter comes as a new report warned poor women in developing countries will be disproportionately affected by climate change.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) evidence shows women are more likely than men to be killed by natural disasters such as cyclones, hurricanes, floods and heat waves, which are on the rise as a result of climate change, because they do not have access to the means to escape for example a car or the ability to swim.

But women also hold the answers to adapting to such disasters because they often manage agriculture, food security and water management in rural areas. In Africa, for example, 80 per cent of food production is managed by women.

Lorena Aguilar, IUCN’s senior gender adviser, said women should be the focus of helping poorer countries survive climate change.

She said: “Women are not just helpless victims – they are powerful agents of change, and their leadership is critical. We need to act now to make sure their voices are properly heard – here in Poznan and beyond.”

Source:
Telegraph

• Posted by Mycah
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