France and UK make joint appeal for action against global warming

Jun 24, 2004 02:00 AM

France and Britain made a joint appeal for action against global warming; declaring that a recent string of extreme weather events had now confirmed climate change was underway.
"The (European) heat wave of summer 2003, repeated floods, the advance of desertification, the melting of the ice-sheets and glaciers are an illustration of the first effects of climate upheaval," four of their ministers said in a joint commentary.

Describing global warming as "major collective risk", the two countries called on the world community, led by industrial nations, to hold down emissions of fossil-fuel gases blamed for the rising temperatures.
"Our two governments are firmly committed, with their European partners, to meeting this crucial challenge," they said.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Secretary of State signed the article for Britain for the Environment Margaret Beckett, and for France by Foreign Minister Michel Barnier and Ecology Minister Serge Lepeltier. The four warned that climate change would have an "incalculable" cost on health, the environment and national economies and would hit future generations grievously. The tab "will clearly be higher than the economic cost of measures to tackle the phenomenon," they warned.

On June 4, the secretary of the UN's paramount environment accord warned that levels of greenhouse gases were growing at "an alarmingly rapid" rate. Joke Waller-Hunter, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), announced in Bonn that US scientists in Hawaii found atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations in March to be 379 ppm (pip).
That amounts to three-pip increase from 2003, a massive 66-% increase over the previous year-on-year rise. Two centuries ago, before industrialisation sparked the widespread use of oil, gas and coal, atmospheric CO2 was 280 ppm.

The UNFCCC is the parent treaty of the Kyoto Protocol, which aims to trim output of fossil gases. Kyoto, signed in 1997, remains in limbo.
The United States, the biggest carbon polluter, has walked away from it and Russia is making contradictory noises about ratifying the accord, a move that would push the deal over a legal threshold and make it an international treaty.

Source: Agence France-Presse
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