A LEGALLY binding international agreement must be urgently struck to ensure countries responsible for 100pc of global emissions are signed up to help tackle climate change, the Environment Minister has urged.
Environment Minister Phil Hogan said Ireland was using its EU Presidency to help advance the negotiations on climate change which must be central to any new development goals drawn-up after 2015.
“The burden of climate change is not evenly distributed geographically and socially, sadly it is the poorest countries with agriculturally dependent economies which are the most affected despite them having done the least to cause the problem,” Mr Hogan told those gathered for the Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice conference at Dublin Castle.
Mr Hogan said “modest but steady progress” was achieved at the UN climate change talks in Doha late last year. Yet, he pointed out the success in securing a second period of commitment to the Kyoto Protocol had been “tempered by the knowledge” that the sum total of emissions of all the countries signed up only accounted for 15pc of global greenhouse gas emissions.
He stressed a legally binding international agreement must be struck at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change under the Durban platform to ensure all 195 countries are signed up and accounting for “100pc of global emissions”.
“So I want to assure you that the Irish presidency is working hard to advance the technical negotiations on climate change this year ahead of the next conference of the parties,” he added.
The conference - co-hosted by the Irish Government and the Mary Robinson Foundation - is part of the EU Presidency, with former US Vice-President Al Gore among the speakers addressing the 350 delegates in Dublin Castle.
Former Minister for Justice Nora Owen earlier told the conference, attended by delegates from more than 60 countries, that NGOs must overcome their fears of talking about politics and entering that sphere.
Discussions at the Hunger-Nutrition-Climate Justice conference are exploring the links between climate change, hunger and poor nutrition and the impact on the world’s vulnerable communities.
Among those attending the conference are Tom Arnold, chair of the Convention on the Irish Constitution, Dr Hans Herren, President of the Millennium Institute and Rachel Kyte, Vice-President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank.