CC Climate change to hit poorer nations harder than rich ones
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Climate change to hit poorer nations harder than rich ones
By Fiona Harvey, Environment Correspondent
Published: December 8 2004
Poorer countries are at greater risk than developed nations from the
effects of climate change, but are less well equipped to deal with
those effects, a conference in Buenos Aires was told on Wednesday.
Delegates meeting to discuss the Kyoto protocol on global climate
change were urged to aid the development of new technologies that
would mitigate the most severe effects of climate change, such as
storms, flooding and desertification.
This week sees representatives from about 150 countries, along with
non-governmental organisations, environmental groups and industrial
experts, gather in Argentina under the auspices of the United Nations
to discuss the Kyoto protocol.
The 10th conference of the parties under the UN-brokered protocol
will run until December 17.
The treaty requires developed countries to reduce their carbon
dioxide emissions, relative to emissions in 1990, to combat global
climate change caused by the warming effect of the increased release
into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases",
mainly as a result of burning fossil fuels.
Russia salvaged the treaty last month when it agreed to ratification,
meaning that the protocol will come into force on February 16 next
However, the admission by the UK government this week that it was not
on track to meet its self-imposed targets for lowering carbon dioxide
emissions dented the jubilation over Russia's ratification.
The UK has tried to position itself as an international leader on
Tony Blair, the prime minister, has pledged to make climate change
one of the two top priorities for the UK's chairmanship of the G8
group of industrial nations in 2005 and for the UK's presidency of
the European Union in the latter half of the year.
But the UK drew criticism in October when it asked the European
Commission to approve an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide
that British industry would be allowed to emit under the "cap-and-
trade" scheme to lower carbon emissions that will begin in the EU in
January. Under the mandatory scheme, companies operating in certain
industries will be given strict limits on how much carbon they can
produce, but will be able to buy and sell permits to emit carbon in
an EU-wide market.
The biggest problem for Kyoto's proponents is the refusal of the US,
the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, to ratify the protocol.
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