Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Adapt to climate change, World Bank chief tells developing nations

Inquirer.net, via Agence France-Presse: China and other developing countries must place a much greater priority on adapting to climate change, World Bank president Robert Zoellick said on Tuesday. "For developing countries the adaptation challenge is as important, if not more so, than the mitigation challenge, but there has been less work on adaptation," Zoellick told reporters at the end of a four-day trip to China. "For many developing countries the adaptation issue is a crisis today, not an uncertainty for tomorrow."

Zoellick made his comments when asked to assess the international deal struck in Bali, Indonesia, over the weekend that set a 2009 deadline to come up with a new treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming. The new treaty would take over when the current UN Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, and has placed a huge focus on how to keep global warming to a minimum.

But even if massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions were made immediately, the climate would continue to warm to dangerous levels and UN scientists have warned that developing nations will be the worst hit. Amid a debate in Bali between rich and poor nations over commitments to cutting emissions and sharing the cutting-edge technology required to do so, Zoellick said "the terms of any follow-on agreements are for the countries involved".

However he said that the World Bank was willing to help countries such as China in regards to issues of concern to them, such as developing some of the clean energy technologies. These include technologies to use coal more efficiently and cleanly, as well as to bury carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, underground, in a process known as sequestering.

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