Cowen calls for more urgency over climate change

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen last night called for more urgency in battling climate change as he arrived in New York for a United Nations gathering on the dangers of greenhouse gases.

Mr Cowen joined fellow leaders for the annual UN general assembly which the organisation’s secretary general Ban Ki-Moon has anchored on reaching consensus on radical steps to stabilise the planet’s environment. The Taoiseach is not expected to speak to the UN, but will meet fellow heads of government during his two-day stay.

The secretary general wants to use the gathering of such diverse leaders as US President Barack Obama, Libya’s Muhammar Gadaffi and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to try and make strong progress ahead of a pivotal UN climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.

Mr Cowen said the EU had shown global leadership on climate change with a unilateral 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and a commitment to upgrade this target to 30% in the event of world leaders reaching an effective deal in December.

“Climate change is a clear example of the increasing need for international and global co-operation in response to the challenges of the 21st century. Ireland’s policy and contribution on tackling climate change is increasingly shaped by our membership of the EU, where we in turn can exert influence on the wider world. Ireland sought and secured EU agreement to the explicit inclusion of combating climate change as an EU competence in the Lisbon Treaty.

“Ireland fully supports the EU policy in tackling climate change and the important role it is playing in the lead up to Copenhagen. There is no better demonstration of the importance and effectiveness of the EU to its citizens and the wider global community,” he said.

The centrepiece of the general assembly gathering will come tomorrow when Mr Obama addresses the conference and is expected to give a clear signal as to whether his administration will live up to its pledge to combat climate change.


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