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U.N.: Leadership lacking in climate debate

"Holistic" voice needed, U.N. envoy Mary Robinson says.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |   Sept. 2, 2014 at 7:16 AM

APIA, Samoa, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- U.N. Special Envoy for Climate Change Mary Robinson said Tuesday from the Pacific island of Samoa there was a general lack of low-carbon leadership.

Robinson said during a summit on development in island nations world leaders aren't putting the necessary focus on climate issues.

"Once you have a head of state focused, it becomes a holistic issue," she told the U.N. News Center.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon convenes a climate summit in New York later this month. More than 100 world leaders are expected to attend, though some members of the European Union have faced criticism for their lack of commitment.

"We need heads of state to say, each of them, what their country is going to do," Robinson said. "There's no 'them' and 'us' anymore. It's all of us."

In August, a draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found emissions are falling in most Western countries because of an increased use of low-carbon energy resources and improvements in energy efficiency. The rising industrialization of Asian economies, however, means the driving factors behind changing weather patterns could be escalating.

For Pacific island nations, a 2013 report from the Asian Development Bank said the economic losses from climate change could translate to a loss of 12.7 percent of annual gross domestic product by 2100 as a result of climate change.

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