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ELDR Congress calls for global solutions for a global problem

October 29, 2007 10:00 AM

Prolonged international co-operation and actions are needed as the world faces up to tackling climate change. This was the message from a debate, entitled 'International action on climate change', during the recent congress of the European Liberal Democrats (ELDR) held in Berlin

The session was chaired by Michael Kauch, MP, FDP Germany and the panel included Ivan Hodac, Secretary General, European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), Czech Republic, Dr Lu Xuedu, Deputy Director General Office of Global Environmental Affairs, Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, China, Andrei Iatsenia, Senior Adviser, public-private partnerships, UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, Ukraine, and Lord Robin Teverson, Liberal Democrats, United Kingdom.

The debate stressed the importance of co-operation at the international level where the EU and G8 must pull their weight, specifically in relation to increasing research and development (R&D) to identify and implement renewable technologies and in securing an international agreement after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. The discussion noted that China should not see its industrial and economic progress hindered as a result of tackling climate change, but that this development should take place in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible. Participants heard how China is just as keen as other countries to find an international agreement and is ready to play a major role in the post Kyoto discussions.

The panel discussed the important role that the automobile industry has to play in developing more efficient vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions. Taking into consideration the development and production process, the average time for a new car to go from the design stage to the market is five to seven years. R&D was again cited as vital in developing new technologies that can be incorporated in cars at affordable prices to ensure that consumers are not priced out of buying new brands of eco-friendly vehicles. They also discussed the role of other measures such as environmentally-friendly driving.

When tackling climate change at the international level, national governments and individual citizens must also learn to adapt their lifestyles to prevent climate change induced disasters. This includes adapting urban planning proposals so that building on flood plains is avoided and ensuring that homes and businesses are properly insured.