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Agence France Presse

Green Groups Urge Action Now on Climate Change

Agence France Presse staff

0430 03Environmental groups Monday called for immediate and decisive action on climate change, amid concern that powerful nations will seek to water down a masterplan aimed at tackling global warming. "We now stand at a climate crossroads," Greenpeace international climate and energy campaigner Stephanie Tunmore said as the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began meeting in Bangkok.

"We can go down the road of renewable energy and smart efficient use of energy... and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

"Or we can keep blundering on in the same direction into a fossil-fuelled future of extreme weather, drastic water shortages and desperate climate refugees. We cannot afford to take a wrong turn."

The week-long IPCC meeting is seeking to come up with recommendations on how best to limit the impacts of climate change without severely hurting the global economy.

However there are deep differences over how best to tackle the problem and some delegates, as well as environmental groups, warned that compromise may mean far too many greenhouse gases continue to be spewed into the air.

The United States and China, the two biggest emitters of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming, have refused to accept internationally binding caps on their pollution, saying that would hurt their economies.

Meanwhile, there is no consensus on what sort of new technologies and economic models should be used to cut greenhouse gases.

Controversy surrounds issues such as nuclear energy, biofuels, putting a price on carbon emissions and trying to bury carbon dioxide deep underground.

Nevertheless, the WWF said a solution could and must be achieved.

"It is crystal clear that we can cut emissions to well below today's levels by shifting from carbon-heavy fuels like coal to clean and efficient energy," WWF global climate change director Hans Verolme said.

"This is affordable. This is only going to cost the world 0.1 percent per year of our GDP (gross domestic product)... it's peanuts."

Copyright © 2007 AFP.

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