Vulnerable countries urge world to cut emissions

AP News
Posted: Nov 10, 2009 1:04 PM

A group of 11 countries vulnerable to adverse effects of global warming urged world leaders Tuesday to reach a binding agreement at the next month's global conference on the issue.

The countries called President Barack Obama and the leaders of emerging economies such as India and China, to personally attend the talks in Copenhagen.

Officials from Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Ghana, Kenya, Kiribati, the Maldives, Nepal, Rwanda, Tanzania and Vietnam _ calling themselves the V11 _ pledged at the Climate Vulnerable Forum in the Maldives to committing to greening their economies as their contribution toward cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

On Monday, President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives asked fellow developing nations to become "carbon neutral" and lead a drive to reduce global warming.

The group issued a statement called upon all countries to follow the "redouble their efforts at reaching a binding, ambitious, fair and effective agreement" in Copenhagen.

The low-lying Maldives has become an outspoken voice on global warming, even staging an underwater Cabinet meeting last month to promote awareness about rising sea levels. It is feared that rising seas could swamp the Indian Ocean archipelago within a century. Its islands average 7 feet (2.1 meters) above sea level.

Maldives has already pledged to become the world's first carbon-neutral nation and last month announced plans to build a wind farm that can supply 40 percent of its electricity. Carbon neutrality refers to achieving an equal balance of the amount of carbon dioxide _ the leading greenhouse gas _ emitted and the amount sequestered or offset.

U.N. scientists say rich countries must cut carbon emissions by 25 percent to 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2020 to prevent Earth's temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) above its average temperature before the industrial era began 150 years ago. Any rise beyond that could trigger climate catastrophe, they say.

So far, reduction pledges total 11 percent to 15 percent, but those could be seen as negotiable.