Speaking at a Major Economies Forum (MEF) meet in London, British prime minister, Gordon Brown warned of disastrous consequences with hundreds of thousands of deaths every year due to floods and droughts if a deal was not agreed to tackle the problem of global warming. He added that the problem posed a greater threat than the recent recession.
He said the threat was not only humanitarian and ecological but also had an economic dimension, with failure to avoid the worst effects of climate change resulting in depressing global GDP 20 per cent than it otherwise would be – amounting to an economic cost greater than the losses caused by two World Wars and the Great Depression.
The UN Climate Change Conference to be held at Copenhagen in December will bring together 190 countries to forge an agreement on tackling the looming menace. However talks remain deadlocked because of the reluctance of rich countries like the US to sign up to stiff targets to cut carbon emissions, even as developing nations like China refuse to take action until the super powers join in the efforts and take the lead.
The forum meeting of 17 countries is seen as a last-ditch effort to get the different countries to agree ahead of Copenhagen in December.
Brown will be attending the Copenhagen talks to ensure a deal is finalised and has urged other world leaders including President Obama to follow his lead.
He has called on rich nations to commit to cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 25 to 40 per cent by 2020. He added that fast-emerging economies such as China and India which are among the biggest polluters of the 21st century need to set out concrete proposals to limit the damage caused by their own rapid development.