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General News of Thursday, 21 August 2008

Source: GNA

WWF urges Olympic spirit at critical UN climate talks in Ghana

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Accra, Aug. 21, GNA - As UN climate talks enter their next round in Accra, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says it is encouraging governments to have the Olympic spirit in mind when meeting at the negotiation table.

It says in order to protect people and nature from dangerous climate change and gain sufficient ground on the road towards agreeing a new global climate treaty in Copenhagen in 2009, the Olympic motto "swifter - higher - stronger" has to guide the discussions.

"Progress on substance at the negotiations in Accra must be swifter, the level of ambition by both developed and developing countries higher, and the measures to reduce CO2 emissions stronger," says Kim Carstensen, Director WWF Global Climate Initiative.

"In order to finish the race against climate change with a gold medal, negotiators will have to put concrete ideas and detailed proposals on the table, lifting the debate from playing tactics to talking substance," she adds in a statement issued by WWF in Accra on Thursday.

According to the statement, while previous climate talks in Bangkok and Bonn earlier this year were focused on negotiation procedures and on putting together wish lists of issues to be discussed, negotiators in Accra can show their skills in a different discipline: consolidate strong proposals on climate finance, technology transfer, adaptation measures or mitigation policies and work out the details of the most innovative and ambitious options. "We see a few strong contenders coming to Accra with concrete proposals in their bags, credible due to a decent set of domestic policies on climate change, and ready to craft new alliances for progress," says Kathrin Gutmann, Policy Coordinator WWF Global Climate Initiative.

"Well prepared countries like Norway or South Africa have been in great shape recently, while the US or Japan lag behind and can't win medals if they stick to old blocking tactics and waste their talent as usual."

WWF notes that the emerging economies, led by South Africa and Mexico, are overtaking traditional leaders like the EU in terms of courage, creativity and political will. It notes that at the recent G8 summit in Japan they showed real leadership by committing to serious deviations from business as usual emission paths, while most industrialized countries have so far failed to commit to reduction targets which would help keeping global warming below the danger-threshold of 2=B0C. "While athletes in Beijing are breaking world records in running or swimming, negotiators in Accra can break the deadlock between developed and developing countries", says Diane McFadzien, Programme Coordinator WWF Global Climate Initiative. "Ultimately all nations need to tackle climate change together, and in Accra the rich countries can live up to their full potential, ideally led by an EU that finds back to its old strength and teams up with the emerging economies."

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