UN Issues Global Warning: Rich Countries Must Cut Fossil Fuels

February 19, 2001

Rich countries such as Australia, Britain and the USA must cut fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal to prevent a climate catastrophe, Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) said today as the United Nations published its latest report on global climate change[1]. The report warns that the world's poorest countries would "bear the brunt of devastating changes" from global warming.

FoEI also called on European Governments to stand firm and force US President George W. Bush to agree to an effective international deal on cutting emissions. The UN climate talks are due to resume in July.

Frances Maguire , Climate Policy co-ordinator for Friends of the Earth International said: "This report shows that climate change will be a disaster for the world in general and for the poorest countries in particular. This catastrophe was made in the rich countries of the North. Governments in industrial countries must agree radical cuts in our use of coal, oil and gas, and big increases in the use of renewable power. If we don't act now it may be too late."

"Three months ago, world talks on cutting emissions floundered because the U.S. would not match the European commitment to cut emissions. Europe must stand firm when talks resume in July and force the US to act responsibly."

[1] "Climate Change 2001: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability" was published today by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. A summary for policy makers is available at the IPCC web site http://www.unep.ch/ipcc/ .

The FoE International report on the impacts of climate change, Gathering Storm, is available at: http://www.foei.org/Publications/indexccpublications.html

For further information contact:

Roger Higman
Friends of the Earth, London
00 44 0 7780 66 1807 (m)

Frances MacGuire
00 44 0 7712 843 460 (m)

Press Office
00 44 0 207 566 1649