JIUTEPEC, Mexico (Reuters) —President Felipe Calderón warned governments on Monday not to let the economic crisis derail efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking at a meeting of representatives of the world’s biggest economies on how to tackle climate change, Mr. Calderón said the world was running out of time to take serious action to address global warming.
“The finger-pointing has gone on for more than a decade without humanity taking a single step forward in the fight against climate change,” Mr. Calderón said at the meeting, which was held in the town of Jiutepec in a picturesque valley near Mexico City.
He said the global recession could make talks over emission goals even more complicated. “If it is hard in boom times to agree to steps that have an economic cost, it will be even harder during a recession,” he said.
World leaders are expected to sign a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen in December that will introduce binding emissions targets for fast-growing developing nations, but rich and poor countries disagree on how far to cut emissions.
Mr. Calderón said that failure to reach an agreement would produce a deterioration of the environment that would cost nations more than if they spent now to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“Climate change will cost Mexico more than 6 percent of our gross domestic product, which is many times more than we are investing in the fight against climate change,” he said.
Emissions need to be reduced by 25 percent to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 if the worst effects of climate change are to be avoided, according to the United Nations’ Climate Panel.
China, India and other developing countries are calling on industrialized nations to agree to deep cuts of 40 percent or more in their emissions of greenhouse gases, saying that rich countries need to take climate change more seriously before they ask developing and poor nations to shoulder some of the burden.