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Vulnerable nations for climate change

Nov. 11, 2009 at 3:44 PM   |   Comments

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Leaders of 11 nations vulnerable to climate change called on the developed world Tuesday to pledge 1.5 percent of their gross national product annually for climate action in the developed world.

The new 11-nation group -- referred to as V11 -- adopted a declaration for a low-carbon future to be presented at the U.N. climate-change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month.

The declaration also calls for cuts that will ensure global temperatures stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and for atmospheric greenhouse gas levels to be returned below the safe threshold of 350 parts per million. The current level of carbon concentrations is 387 parts per million.

The declaration further states that global greenhouse emissions should peak by 2015 and be reduced by 85 percent by 2050.

The 11-nation declaration was presented at the conclusion of the Climate Vulnerable Forum organized by Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed.

Nasheed said that the low-lying Maldives and other signatory nations of the Climate Vulnerable Forum -- Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania and Vietnam -- agreed that carbon neutrality and development can go together.

The group of 11 nations also called on world leaders meeting in Copenhagen to create "a legal framework to protect the human rights of those left stateless as a result of climate change." Currently, those displaced by rising sea levels, droughts or other effects of climate change do not qualify for U.N. refugee status.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, an estimated 20 million people were at least temporarily displaced by climate-related natural disasters last year.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum nations expressed concern over recently voiced pessimism for the Copenhagen talks and called on world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, to personally attend. Representatives from the United States, Europe and China attended the meeting as observers.

Nasheed, a leading voice on global warming who last month held a Maldives Cabinet meeting underwater to draw attention to climate change, said, "I refuse to believe that it is too late, and that we cannot do any better. Copenhagen is our date with destiny."

Nasheed has vowed to make the Maldives carbon neutral in a decade by switching to renewable energy where possible.

"We are not responsible for the hundreds of years of carbon emissions, which are cooking the planet," he said at the forum. "But the dangers climate change poses to our countries means that this crisis can no longer be considered somebody else's problem."

Forum participants agreed to hold a second meeting in the Pacific island of Kiribati next year.

© 2009 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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