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4 December 2007 - United Nations Global 500 Laureates urge PM on climate and forests       

United Nations Global 500 Laureates urge PM on climate and forests   

Sydney, 4th December 2007                    

At the start of the most anticipated and critical climate meeting in Bali this week, and following Australia’s momentous ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, Prime Minister Rudd has received a letter signed by 27 United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Global 500 Laureates* calling upon Australia to work to ensure that a strong collaborative mandate on protecting the world’s tropical forests is achieved at the UNFCCC.

Signed by some of the worlds most prominent conservation ecologists and climate change experts, including Yolanda Kakabadse, the President of the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Nobel Prize winner for Physics, Murray Gell-Man, Dr Peter Raven from the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Professor Norman Myers from Oxford University and Dr Thomas Lovejoy, President of the Heinz Centre for Science, Economics and Environment, the Laureates recognise the momentum that has been building on forests in the lead-up to the Bali meeting and support the growing calls from developing nations for ‘avoided deforestation’ to be included in any post-2012 agreement.

“A clear consensus has been built internationally for strong tropical forest and peatland protection outcomes from the Bali gathering,” said Michael Kennedy, HSI’s Director. “The UNEP Global 500 Laureates add further weight to those calls and strongly support efforts to help developing nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions from avoided deforestation and degradation of other vital natural carbon rich places – such places will be well on the way to oblivion by 2012.”

The UNEP Laureates call on Australia and new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to continue to support, encourage and invest in critical partnerships such as the Kalimantan Partnership between Australia, BHP Billiton and Indonesia, signed during the September APEC meetings in Sydney, recognising such partnerships as an effective means of securing critical protection of forests and peatlands whilst also assisting developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

“Working via the formal UN negotiating processes to achieve an effective roadmap for a post-Kyoto agreement which includes `avoided deforestation’ clauses is very important and strongly supported by all,” Mr Kennedy said. “However, bilateral partnerships undertaken in the interim years while formal negotiations are taking place, are vital components in the plan if the world is to safeguard some of the world’s largest stores of carbon, and protect some of the most endangered tropical species and habitats in the process.  


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