Saturday, December 10, 2011

Climate change is the definitive challenge of the 21st century

Josef Beck, Germany's ambassador to Jamaica, in the Jamaica Observer: Climate change is the definitive challenge of the 21st century. Changes in the climate destroy the basis on which human life subsists. For instance, drought leads to shortages in food and water. Rising sea levels are already threatening the territories of small island states and vast stretches of coastland. Nobody living on a beautiful island in the Caribbean like Jamaica will be blind to that danger.

...Germany is aware of the pressing nature of this problem. We are therefore doing what we can to mitigate it effectively. Thanks to our national reduction measures, we are within the targets which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommends for industrialised countries: we intend to reduce our emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 and by 80.95 per cent by 2050. We are also doing our bit to push for ambitious reduction targets within the EU.

At the highest level internationally, too, we want to create awareness that we have to act now to tackle climate change. It was under Germany's presidency that the United Nations Security Council, on July 20, unanimously acknowledged for the first time ever that climate change poses a threat to international security.

Germany is working both globally and domestically to combat climate change because we understand how serious the problem is and we are aware of our responsibility. At the same time, in-depth analysis shows that the structural transformation we have set in motion is one which will in future also serve us well economically. By switching to a low-carbon economy, we want to prove that tackling climate change is compatible with economic development. We want to support others as they pursue this path to success; going green can be an opportunity for everyone!...

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