Tags: Annan | Challenges | Bush | Climate | Stance

Annan Challenges Bush Climate Stance

Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM

In a commencement address at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University outside Boston, Annan said climate change, "May well be the greatest global challenge that your generation will have to face," adding, that in fact it "is one that will have to be waged for generations."

Said the U.N. chief, "This is not some distant, worst-case scenario, it is tomorrow's forecast."

Bush Friday outlined recommendations for the United States to seek greater energy resources rather than strive for greater conservation.

"The United States, as you probably know, is the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, largely because it is the world's most successful economy," the secretary-general said. "That makes it especially important for it to join in reducing emissions and in the broader quest for energy efficiency and conservation.

Earlier this year, Bush announced his objection to the Kyoto Protocol, which would commit developed nations to reduce greenhouse emissions, saying it threatened the nation's economy.

"There is concern throughout the world about the decision of the new administration to oppose the protocol," Annan said. "We face the very real danger that the hard won global gains in combating climate change will experience a grievous setback. Developing countries would be left most vulnerable, even though they are the least responsible for global warming.

Pointing out that climate change negotiations resume in a little more than a month's time, he said, "I can think of no better moment for everyone to reflect on this global threat, and to consider what more we can do in response. Far more is within our power than is commonly understood.

"Contrary to popular belief, we do not face a choice between economy and ecology," Annan said, taking a swipe at one of Bush's arguments without naming the president. "It is often said that protecting the environment would constrain or even undermine economic growth. In fact, the opposite is true, unless we protect resources and the earth's natural capital, we shall not be able to sustain economic growth."

Said the secretary-general, "The costs of inaction are often ignored. We must stop being so economically defensive and start being more politically courageous."

Bush's rejection of Kyoto is but part of a litany recited recently by diplomats trying to justify Washington losing its seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which it was instrumental in founding in 1947 and had held the seat since, and losing representation on the International Narcotics Control Board, two defeats in one day earlier this month.

The diplomats also said the United States was taken to task for being tardy in its dues payments, which was only sorted out through delicate negotiations last December.

Said Annan in Medford Sunday, "Though we have the human and material resources to win the fight against climate change, the time for a well-planned transition to sustainable development is running out - that is unless you do your part."

He said, "allow me to wish you a life in which you can take full pleasure in the natural environment, while recognizing the urgent need to preserve it. I wish you every success, from business to family life, while encouraging you to be aware of the public implications of your private pursuits."

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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In a commencement address at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University outside Boston, Annan said climate change, May well be the greatest global challenge that your generation will have to face, adding, that in fact it is one that will have to be...
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2001-00-21
Monday, 21 May 2001 12:00 AM
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