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Environmentalists Blast 'Failed' Climate Talks


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United Nations climate change negotiations end Friday in Bangkok, but a Britain-based environmental group says the two-week talks have failed to deliver progress. The International Institute for Environment and Development says industrialized nations have failed to answer big questions on how to limit the effects of global warming in the developing world.

Simon Anderson is a climate specialist at the Institute for Environment and Development.

He says negotiators have failed to make any major moves towards limiting the effects of global warming. After two weeks of talks, he says, targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions still haven't been set and plans to help the developing world cope with climate change have not been made.

"On all of those issues the delegates have not come up with concrete suggestions. One would have expected greater progress, certainly on adaptation and technology transfer," he said.

'Adaptation' relates to adjustment projects to deal with climate change, for example building dikes to prevent rising sea levels from overflowing into coastal areas. 'Technology transfer' relates to how scientific knowledge and technology is shared.

Anderson says most African countries have already produced plans on how to deal with the effects of climate change.

"A lot of African countries have plans ready but are unable to implement adaptation programs for want of resources," he added.

The World Bank says developing countries are only responsible for around one-third of greenhouse gases, but will suffer a disproportionate 80 percent of the damage caused by climate change. Environmental specialists say sub-Saharan Africa will be one of the worst hit regions.

Anderson says he has seen first hand the problems that are already being created by climate change in the developing world.

"I've been in several of the developing countries this year doing an evaluation of adaptation planning and witnessed first hand changes in rainfall, changes in temperature, people experiencing unpredictable weather patterns," he said.

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East Africa is right now suffering from a five-year drought that some environmentalists say is a result of global warming. Aid agencies have warned that as many 23 million people may go hungry as a result.

Anderson says the failure to make real progress in Bangkok means that when world leaders meet for a critical United Nations summit in the European city of Copenhagen two months from now, the groundwork for change won't have been laid.

"We haven't even got the vehicle for the agreement to be reached. So there is a lot of work to be done yet," he said.

Africa is sending a united delegation of representatives to the Copenhagen summit headed by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. African countries are expected to seek billions of dollars in compensation for the effects of global warming.

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