UN environment chief Klaus Toepfer called on industrialized nations to assume
responsibility for their role in causing the freak weather that has claimed scores
of lives around the world.
He told Germany's Deutschlandradio station that there could no longer be any doubt that humans were partly to blame for the torrential rains that have wreaked havoc from Europe to Asia.
"We have to do all we can to fight (this phenomenon) and that is above all
the duty of industrialized countries," the former German environment minister
He said Africa represented 14 percent of the world's population but produced only 3.2 percent of its polluting carbon dioxide emissions, "yet it's precisely there that the effects of climate change are so dramatic."
Toepfer, who is head of the United Nations Environment Program, said what was needed most of all were cutbacks in energy use and the continuing development of renewable energy sources.
That had to be done in conjunction with developing countries, he added, so
that efforts to reduce emissions in industrialized nations were not wasted by
a rise in emissions elsewhere.
By signing the Kyoto protocol, the European Union is committed to cutting by eight percent its emissions of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gases blamed for climate change.
But the United States, which is responsible for 36 percent of greenhouse gas
emissions, has refused to ratify the Kyoto accord.
Copyright 2002 AFP