Press Release
August 29, 2008

"Give poorer nations a sense of ownership"

DENVER, Colorado -- Senator Edgardo Angara called on developed countries to give people in poorer nations a stake and a sense of ownership in any new measures to be taken by the international community in tackling climate change. Angara made the call at a forum jointly hosted by the Club de Madrid and the Global Leadership for Climate Action, a United Nations (UN) Foundation.

The Club de Madrid is composed of former heads of state and is chaired by former US president Bill Clinton with former Chilean Prime Minister Ricardo Lagos as President. The Global Leadership for Climate Action was founded by CNN Chairman Ted Turner and is headed by former US Senator Timothy Wirth.

While agreeing that the international community must unite in combating the problem of climate change, Angara stressed that for such efforts to succeed, there must be a recognition of the link among poverty, food security and environmental degradation in developing countries. Angara was the only Philippine leader present at the prestigious forum.

"Climate change has cause food scarcity at a global level, but its impact is felt more strongly by developing nations. For instance, rice and corn production have declined as violent typhoons and record-breaking monsoon rains drowned crops across Asia," said Angara.

The Philippines, a primarily agricultural country like many developing nations, has been losing millions of pesos from agricultural crops destroyed by strong typhoons, as well as from productivity drops caused by dry spells.

Last year, an estimated 245,000 MT of corn and about 200,000 to 400,000 MT rice were lost due to a dry spell. The damage to rice alone ranges between P600 million to P1.14 billion. Meanwhile, the massive rain and floods that followed caused the spread of swine flu and cholera among livestock in Central Luzon.

Last month, the leaders of the Group of 8, the world's richest industrialized nations, pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2050. However, the G8 countries the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Russia - were not clear whether the cuts in carbon emissions by 2050 would be pegged at current greenhouse gas levels, or 1990 levels, as many advocates had hoped.

They also did not reach an agreement with the 8 Major Economies which includes Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, and South Africa on the specific targets. They argued that their per-capita emissions are far lower than G8 countries' so wealthier nations should set hard targets first.

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