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Statement by Klaus Toepfer in Response to US-Led Climate Initiative

Nairobi, 28 July 2005—Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today welcomed a plan by the United States to work with Australia and Asian countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Rapidly developing economies like China and India need new and more efficient energy technologies if they are to lift their populations out of poverty without compromising the environment or destabilising the global economy,” he said.

“Countries like the United States are now equally aware that being dependent on fossil fuels is and will be an increasing burden in the future. They now recognise that a more diversified fuel supply that includes technologies like cleaner coal and renewables alongside greater energy efficiency makes economic as well as environmental sense,” said Mr. Toepfer.

“It is important to mention that this new initiative is not a substitute for the Kyoto Protocol, its legally binding emission reductions and its various flexible mechanisms including emission trading and the Clean Development Mechanism. We also urgently need more investment in climate-vulnerable developing countries to help them adapt to the climate change that is already underway,” he said.

“However, all countries must look to how we tackle climate change beyond 2012. We need numerous imaginative and diverse initiatives if we are to put the planet on track for the up to 60 per cent emission reductions deemed necessary by scientists. These need to involve not only governments but industry sectors up to climate alliances between cities in the developed and developing world,” he added.

“Technological change, the key element in this new US-led initiative, is among these. It also offers the chance of growing new industries and stimulating research and development that may in turn lead to ever cleaner and more efficient energy supply and energy savings systems. If it leads to real and meaningful reductions in greenhouse gases and a decrease in the kinds of energy shocks which damage in particular the fragile economies of poor countries, then it is a welcome step forward and a clear signal that we now have a truly global consensus on the need to fight climate change,” said Mr. Toepfer.

For More Information Please Contact Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 62 3084; Mobile: +254 733 632 755, E-mail:

If there is no prompt response, please contact Elisabeth Waechter, UNEP Associate Information Officer, on Tel: 254 20 623088, Mobile: 254 720 173968, E-mail:

Wednesday 03 Aug 2005
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