NGOs try to influence G8’s response to climate change

Climate change is one of the biggest dangers to Seychelles. From too much rain to extreme drought, from increased storms to sea level rise, from coral bleaching to spread of tropical diseases, the threats are serious. Global warming is at the root of climate change. It is mainly caused by industrial emissions – the by-products of fossil fuel burning. To tackle it we need to address the biggest polluters of the planet. But as individuals or organisations in small countries, how can we do this? One way is to link with larger groups working on the same issue.
Several environment non-government organisation (NGO) networks, such as the BirdLife International partnership of which Nature Seychelles is an active member, have been working to urge world leaders, particularly UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, to influence the USA and agree a clear way forward for climate protection. The US is the only G8 (Group of 8 industrial) country not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol – proposals to cut down emissions.

Terrorism in London overshadowed the G8 summit meeting in Scotland. The issue of climate change may have been knocked off the front pages, but it hasn’t gone away as one of the most pressing challenges facing the world. At the G8 meeting, the Bush administration once again objected to language that includes statements that the world is warming, that human activity is mostly to blame, and that developed economies must lead the fight against the problem.

Nature Seychelles endorsed the BirdLife and other environmental groups’ position on climate change because it believes it is clear that climate change is already causing not only ecological but social and economic problems for many countries. Issues of poverty in Africa are now closely linked with climate change. We have no option but to recognise the impact of climate change and to help the most vulnerable countries adapt to it, the environmental groups say.

The final statement on climate change issued from the G8 summit didn’t offer any real progress. ‘At least not having gone backwards was a small consolation,’ one BirdLife representative from the UK told Nature Seychelles.

'President Bush has refused to heed worldwide calls to tackle climate change’, said John Lanchbery of the RSPB/BirdLife partnership in the UK. 'Now it is time to look ahead to what the UK can achieve through its EU presidency and to what we can accomplish at the next climate change talks in Montreal in December.’

BirdLife International is a partnership of independent environment NGOs in over 100 countries and territories.

Published on Regar Weekly Newspaper, Seychelles on 1st August 2005


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