Financial Crisis Should Not Detain Efforts to Reduce Effects of Climate Change
Alicia Bárcena stressed the need to advance towards a regional agenda on energy policy for the short and medium run.
(9 April 2009) The entire world is focusing on the international financial crisis, but there are other urgencies that must not be postponed, such as the effects of climate change on our planet, said Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). "There are no rescue packages for this issue," she stated.
Bárcena outlined the region's priorities in addressing climate change during the inauguration of a conference offered by Dr. Akio Hosono at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago.
Postponing action to address climate change could have serious consequences, especially for the most vulnerable regions and countries in the world, such as Latin America and its insular developing nations, said Bárcena.
In this regard, this year is crucial, given the negotiations taking place to renew international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and particularly the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change to be held in December.
"We cannot detain our efforts to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions at the levels proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, at around 450 to 500 parts per million," she said.
Reaching a universal consensus in Copenhagen on new commitments to reduce contaminating emissions must not be postponed, stressed Bárcena. To this effect, ECLAC suggests preparing a regional agenda on energy policy for the short and medium run that may include improving energy security, promoting energy savings and efficiency, diversifying energy sources, and promoting social equality in the access and consumption of energy.
She highlighted the experience in Japan, which has demonstrated a valuable will of cooperation and responsibility faced with the challenges of climate change. Particularly interesting is the Japanese proposal Cool Earth 50 presented by Dr. Hosono at ECLAC.
During his conference, the Japanese expert explained the way in which his country was able to reduce carbon emissions, making it today the country with the lowest emissions in the world, thanks to a programme that increased energy efficiency by over 30% in the past 30 years.
Cool Earth 50 proposes reducing global emissions in half by 2050, with international cooperation and innovation. It also promotes assistance for developing nations and new financial means to support them.