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Senior UN Diplomat: Leave Fossil Fuels in the Ground

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson says "radical leadership on climate change" urgently needed

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

"Fossil fuels must be left in the ground" to stop runaway emissions, one of the world's senior diplomats said on Monday, reiterating a message widely-advocated by environmental groups.

“The time for radical leadership on climate change is now," said Mary Robinson. (Photo: Open Government Partnership/cc/flickr) The urging was given by Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Irish president, and current member of The Elders and Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General to the Great Lakes Region.

"There is a global limit on a safe level of emissions. That means major fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground. That has huge implications for economic and social development," Robinson told the Guardian on Monday.

Robinson also told the paper that climate skeptics are "not based in reality," and warned that the proposal would like face blocks by the fossil fuel industry, saying that "there is obviously a business community that is trying to cloud and distort the science."

Robinson, President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, along with the World Resources Institute, and a wide group of global leaders and advocates including Nnimmo Bassey of Oilwatch International former President of Chile Ricardo Lagos issued a Declaration on Climate Justice on Monday that states,  "For the sake of those affected by climate impacts now and in the future, we have no more time to waste."

The signatories "demand a world where our children and future generations are assured of fair and just opportunities for social stability, employment, a healthy planet and prosperity." The declaration describes a vision for climate justice that "requires us to build a common future based on justice for those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and a just transition to a safe and secure society and planet for everyone. "

“The time for radical leadership on climate change is now," Robinson stated. "With 2015 set as the deadline for both a new climate agreement and the post-2015 development agenda, we are at the point in human development when we need to act to protect."

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