World leaders must react faster to climate change, says task force

A high-level climate change task force has warned that world leaders must do more to react to climate change, and calls for the Rio+ 20 conference to take threat seriously.

The Climate Change Task Force (CCTF), which consists of scientists, economists, former heads of state, Nobel Prize laureates, as well as climate and sustainable development experts from developed and developing countries, aims to encourage political change to address climate change.

As a result, it has launched an appeal calling for the United Nations (UN) sustainable development conference in Brazil to “prioritise action against the drivers of global warming”, and argues that climate change must be positioned in the “wider context” of sustainable economic and social development.

Former Soviet President and Nobel Prize laureate Mickhail Gorbachev, said: “The Climate Change Task Force is appealing to the heads of state and decision-makers at the Rio+20 conference to ensure that the climate change challenge is put clearly onto the agenda and that a strong political commitment is made to take action against this threat.”

The appeal has been endorsed by more than 30 influential figures from a variety of fields, including Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK prime minister, Dmitri Zenghelis, chief economist at Cisco Climate Change Practice, European Union climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard, environmentalist David Suzuki, former Netherlands prime minister Ruud Lubbers, Ashok Khosla, president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, secretary general of Local Governments for Sustainability, and Alexander Likhotal, president of Green Cross International.

Mr Likhotal said: “The United Nations is highlighting the urgent need for action, stating that little or no progress has been made on climate change, desertification, drought, fish stocks and dozens of internationally agreed goals and objectives to support sustainable management of the environment and improve human wellbeing. But leadership means not just recognition of the problem, but about offering a solution to resolve the problem.”

The Appeal is set to be followed by the release of the Task Force’s first joint statement on ‘Action to Face the Urgent Realities of Climate Change’ on June 18.

Carys Matthews

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