1 February 2008The top United Nations climate change official today highlighted the crucial role that Latin America and the Caribbean countries – which scientists believe will bear the brunt of the effects of global warming over the coming decades – will play in addressing the problem. Last December, the landmark UN Climate Change Conference in Indonesia ended with 187 countries agreeing to launch a two-year process of formal negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012, on greenhouse gas emissions.“As part of the initial phase of international climate change negotiations in 2008, there needs to be a focus on designing the mechanisms to support and enable action by developing countries, no least by countries in your region,” Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said at a regional ministerial-level meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.This focus will enable these nations to cope with the effects of climate change, as well as “go the extra green mile” when putting cleaner technologies into operation, he added.The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a 2007 Nobel Prize laureate, has said the impacts of climate change in the region – including inundation of small island states and densely-populated coastal areas; more intense hurricanes; water shortages; soil erosion; droughts; and the loss of biodiversity – will intensify as time goes by.While the carbon market, a mechanism allowing companies to trade emissions credits in order to ensure that mandated caps are met, are helpful, is helpful, it is “clear that the market cannot do the trick alone,” he stressed.“We need a new climate change Marshall Plan that will reshape the world’s future economy and redirect investment flows into a sustainable future,” Mr. de Boer said, referring to the economic assistance programme that the United States brought to Europe after World War II.The Executive Secretary called for a new financial framework to jump-start green, low-carbon economic growth globally.

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