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Planet Ark World Environment News Mexico Pleads For U.S., China Agreement On Climate

Date: 04-Nov-11
Country: FRANCE
Author: Marie Maitre

Mexican President Felipe Calderon urged Washington and Beijing on Thursday to agree to curb the release of climate-warming gases to ensure the success of United Nations climate talks in South Africa later this month.

"An agreement between the U.S. and China is absolutely required," Calderon told a gathering of business leaders on the sidelines of a meeting by the Group of 20 leaders in southern France.

"It is important, crucial for humankind that the world's largest economy and the world's largest emitter make a formal commitment," added Calderon, whose country will take over the G20 presidency after the Cannes summit.

Nearly two decades of U.N. climate change negotiations have so far failed to find a new binding approach to curbing the release of climate-warming gases. The world's biggest emitters, the United States and China, have never formally signed up to mandatory emissions caps.

Calderon said it was wrong to think the financial and economic crises overshadowed the need to curb carbon emissions, and urged mature and emerging economies to step up green investments.

"We need to fix at the same time the financial crisis and the environment crisis," Calderon said.

"All the measures that we can take to promote a greener economy are cheaper than the cost of climate change," he said, pointing at the drought that has affected northern Mexico this year while hurricanes hit southern Mexico.

International negotiators are due to meet in Durban between November 28 and December 9 to make progress on a new global binding climate pact to succeed Kyoto but expectations are low as rifts from previous summits continue.

The first commitment period of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol ends next year. The pact was intended to limit the adverse effects of climate change but only obliged developed countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

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