UN Secretary General Kofi Annan told a conference on climate control in Nairobi that it is far less expensive to cut greenhouse gasses (GHG) than “deal with the consequences later” and implored nations “Let no one say we cannot afford to act.” Taking a dig at US policy against GHG cutback initiatives, Annan said “a frightening lack of leadership” in the UN to initiate new ideas on reducing GHG.
He wanted the delegates of the 180 nations to take more “politically courageous” steps to take the 1992 UN Climate Treaty forward and find ways to not slowdown economies. The Kyoto Protocol accepted in 1997 requires 35 most developed nations to reduce GHG by 5% below the 1990 levels by 2012. The US and Australia have rejected the Kyoto demanding cutbacks from poorer nations as well. While the US accounts for more than 2/3rd of the world’s fossil fuel, the Australian position is mere parroting of the US line—which it does on most major issues. The current conference is focusing on setting emission quotas for the post-2012 period and the world hopes that the US and those who imitate it will be part of that deal.
Scientists say that the .6 degree Celsius in global temperature increase is because of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gasses generated by power plants, automobiles, and other fossil fuel burning applications. They cite changes in temperature, un-seasonal rain, changing weather and rain patterns, droughts, and drought-induced famines on GHG production.
Non-Government Groups say that they do not expect a concrete plan from this conference but the presence of senior Ministers will at least show that “there is a continuation of the Kyoto Protocol.” They hope that the conference may create a timetable for continuing these talks into the next year and some uncharitably say that real progress will happen only when the US George Bush Administration ends in 2009. Others say that holding the “negotiations hostage” will not be beneficial for the world