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EU Calls for Urgent, Ambitious Global Action on Climate Change

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European Union (EU) Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas on Thursday called for greater urgency and ambition in international negotiations on a new global climate agreement, in order to prevent climate change from reaching dangerous levels.

Dimas launched the appeal on the eve of World Environment Day.

"Urgent and ambitious global action is imperative if we are to prevent dangerous climate change that threatens to cause enormous human suffering, undermine economic progress and poverty reduction, and trigger potentially catastrophic environmental changes," Dimas said in a statement.

"This need for urgency and ambition must be reflected in the pace and content of the international negotiations to prepare the Copenhagen agreement (at the UN climate conference in December)."

He asked negotiators who are meeting in Bonn, Germany, to inject greater momentum into the talks and turn the draft negotiating texts now on the table into a blueprint for a sufficiently ambitious Copenhagen agreement.

"Time is not on our side," he said.

Dimas said the developed world must lead the way. To get global missions onto the right track to prevent dangerous climate change, developed countries must start by cutting their collective emissions to 30 percent below their 1990 levels by 2020, he said.

The EU has shown its leadership in greenhouse gas reduction targets by putting in place legislative measures to achieve a 20-percent reduction by 2020 and by committing to scale this up to30 percent if other countries agree to do their fair share, Dimas said.

He asked other developed countries to also show leadership. Some developed countries have yet to announce emission targets, while those targets on the table so far risk falling well short of the collective 30-percent reduction needed, he said.

Dimas asked developing countries, particularly the big emerging economies, to step up action to limit their rate of emissions growth.

"But only by setting a strong example themselves will developed countries succeed in convincing the developing world to join the global effort that Copenhagen must launch," he said.

Scientists believe that global warming must be kept to less than two degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial temperature in order to prevent dangerous climate change. This requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak by 2020 and to be reduced by 50 percent by 2050 against 1990 levels.

(Xinhua News Agency June 5, 2009)

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