- Title: ALGERIA: African ministers debate environmental challenges
- Date: 23rd November 2008
- Summary: (AD1) ALGIERS, ALGERIA (NOVEMBER 19, 2008) (REUTERS) WIDE OF CONFERENCE VARIOUS OF CONFERENCE PANEL VARIOUS OF AFRICAN GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES DELEGATES APPLAUDING VARIOUS OF DELEGATES IN AUDIENCE WIDE OF PANEL VARIOUS OF HEAD OF THE UN CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIAT, YVO DE BOER, ON PANEL DELEGATE IN AUDIENCE DE BOER WALKING TO LECTERN WIDE OF CONFERENCE DE BOER SPEAKING, PROJECTED ON SCREEN WIDE OF CONFERENCE YVO DE BOER TALKING TO JOURNALIST (SOUNDBITE) (English) YVO DE BOER, HEAD OF THE UN CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIAT, SAYING: "There was yesterday an important meeting in California, organised by Governor Schwarzenegger, and Senator Obama provided a video address to that conference in which he indicated that he intends to show national and international leadership and that his goal is to return American emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020. And I think that statement from him will be seen as a huge signal of encouragement to the international community." DE BOER'S HANDS (SOUNDBITE) (English) YVO DE BOER, HEAD OF THE UN CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIAT, SAYING: "When the negotiations were launched in Bali a year ago, countries called for leadership from the United States. And I think this signal from Senator Obama shows that he is willing to show that leadership. And that I think will have a very positive influence on the negotiations." DE BOER AND JOURNALIST WALKING OFF
- Embargoed: 8th December 2008 12:00
- Location: Algeria
- Country: Algeria
- Topics: Environment / Natural World
- Reuters ID: LVA471WNJSVD0OZ98FH4BYBGSB8R
- Story Text: African countries adopted a united front on climate change on Wednesday (November 19), as efforts get underway to negotiate a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The UN Climate Change Conference is to be held in Copenhagen at the end of next year, after a preparatory meeting in Poznan in December. The 190 countries party to the UN Convention on Climate Change are trying to negotiate by then a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, further reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The African platform in particular calls for a reform and expansion of the so-called Clean Development Mechanism, which allows businesses in developed countries to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by investing in "green" projects in the developing countries, such as renewable energy schemes or reforestation.
African countries have received only about two percent of investment under the mechanism, according to Algerian Environment Minister Cherif Rahmani, although the continent has been hard hit by climate change.
The head of the UN Climate Change Secretariat said in an interview that U.S. president-elect Barack Obama's pledge to work to reduce emissions sharply by 2020 is a "huge signal" of encouragement to countries negotiating a new climate pact.
"I think that will have a very positive influence on the negotiations," Yvo de Boer, who heads the Secretariat, told Reuters in Algeria. "He indicated that he intends to show national and international leadership."
The U.S. president-elect said on Tuesday (November 18) the United States would vigourously engage in climate change talks when he is president, and pledged to work to reduce emissions sharply by 2020, despite the global financial crisis.
"I think that statement from him will be seen as a huge signal of encouragement to the international community," de Boer said in an interview on the sidelines of an African environment conference.
European nations have pushed the United States for years to show more leadership on climate change so that China and India, developing nations whose emissions are outpacing the developed world's, will follow suit.
The Democratic president-elect, who regularly criticised the Bush administration's attitude toward global warming, said his government would set strong annual targets that set the country on a course to reduce emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020 and cut them by a further 80 percent by 2050.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, 37 developed nations have agreed to cut emissions by 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.
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