With December’s climate change conference now becoming just another talk about talks, CIWEM (the Chartered Institution of Water & Environmental Management) is worried that the world’s leaders will fail to reach an agreement that is commensurate with the magnitude of the threat posed by climate change.

The UN conference in Copenhagen had been billed as our last chance to stop climate change.

CIWEM is bitterly disappointed that we are now being forced to accept that it will be impossible to secure a legally binding agreement on cutting carbon emissions during next month’s negotiations.

CIWEM’s new Manifesto, Fitting the Bill, demands that the world faces up to the reality of climate change and the scale of the challenge.

The time for debate has passed, and in the run up to Copenhagen, the message to world leaders couldn’t have been clearer: act now or, without unprecedented commitment and cooperation, future generations will face a bleak outlook characterised by a hostile climate and greatly diminished resources.

Nick Reeves, CIWEM executive director, said: “Without doubt, Copenhagen should have been the most important meeting of world leaders since the Second World War and certainly as momentous as the Bretton Woods conference of 1944.

“Yet procrastinating politicians are preparing for more talks in the outmoded but time-honoured fashion that’s all about brokering deals and consensus-politics.

“The outcome could be the longest suicide note in history. Because, when it comes to global action on climate change, we’ve been here before. Kyoto may have been an historic agreement but it took too long, didn’t include the US, and didn’t achieve very much.

“Whatever emerges from the aftermath of Copenhagen, it may be too little, too late.”

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