Sunday, February 04, 2007

Chirac calls for beefed-up UN Environment Agency
Sat Feb 3, 7:13 AM ET
PARIS (AFP) - A day after United Nations scientists delivered their bluntest warning yet over global warming, French President Jacques Chirac has called for a powerful UN environmental agency to reinforce international control over the planet.

Closing a two-day conference in Paris, Chirac said the proposal to replace the existing UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has the support of some 40 countries.

"We call for the transformation of the UNEP into a genuine international organisation to which all countries belong, along the lines of the World Health Organisation," Chirac said Saturday.

"This UN agency for the environment will be a strong and recognised voice in the world," he said.

"It will be an instrument for evaluating ecological damage and how to remedy it ... for promoting those technologies and behaviour patterns most respectful of eco-systems ... and for supporting the implementation of environmental decisions across the planet," he said.

The Nairobi-based UNEP was set up in 1972 to promote environmental protection. But Chirac shares the belief of many experts that its capacities are insufficient to cope with the growing problems linked to global warming and habitat destruction.

However his call for a fully-fledged UN agency has not received unanimous backing. The US, Brazil, China and Russia are all opposed and many non-governmental organisations question whether another expensive supranational body is the answer to the world's problems.

Chirac's "Citizens of the Earth" summit took place just three months before he is expected to leave office after 12 years as president. It was widely interpreted as a bid to leave an environmental legacy by which he will be remembered...

Global warming: Nations call for new environmental body
Paris, Feb. 4 (AP): Forty-five nations joined France in calling for a new environmental body to slow global warming and protect the planet, a body that potentially could have policing powers to punish violators.

Absent were the world's heavyweight polluter, the United States, and booming nations on the same path as the U.S., China and India.

Saturday's effort, led by French President Jacques Chirac, came a day after the release of an authoritative, and disturbingly grim, scientific report saying that global warming is ``very likely'' caused by mankind, and that climate change will continue for centuries even if heat-trapping gases are reduced. It the strongest language ever used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose last report was issued in 2001.

The document, a collaboration of hundreds of scientists and government officials, was approved by 113 nations, including the United States...

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