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  Today Online 26 Sep 07
Big boys should take green lead
FM Yeo: US, China, India must act to cut carbon emissions
Jason Lee

Straits Times 26 Sep 07
Two-pronged action needed in global warming fight, says George Yeo

Yahoo News 24 Sep 07
Nations with tropical forests pledge conservation

Channel NewsAsia 25 Apr 07
Developed countries urged to take lead in carbon emission control


Straits Times 25 Sep 07
Promote sustainable forest management: George Yeo

THE Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec)'s resolution to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation, especially the promotion of sustainable forest management, is important.

Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo affirmed this in a statement in New York at the High-Level event on climate change convened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Monday.

Citing a briefing on the influence of El Nino on the health of the Amazon forest at the National Institute of Amazonia Research (Inpa) in Manaus, he said experts estimate that in 1997/98 when the El Nino effect was at its worst in decades, forest fires in South-east Asia released 700 million metric tons of CO2 to the atmosphere.

Even in a weak El Nino year, like 2006, more than 8 million hectares of forest were destroyed by fire in September alone.

But Mr Yeo acknowledged that prescriptions by developed countries to developing countries on carbon emissions are sometimes perceived as self-serving, adding that developmental needs cannot be ignored.

'However, there must also be a system of surveillance and control to ensure that money is properly used and not channelled into the wrong hands,' he said.

He said developed countries can do a lot to help not only in carbon capture but also in preserving the biodiversity in developing countries.

It has been estimated that tropical forests in South-east Asia, Africa and South America contain more than 50 per cent of all the plant and animal species on our planet, he said.

Making his point with the Heart of Borneo initiative, Mr Yeo said Brunei, though not a big country, set aside 58 per cent of its total land area for the initiative.

Calling it 'a magnificent contribution', he said Borneo is home to 13 species of primates, 150 species of reptiles and amphibians, and over 350 species of birds and 15,000 species of plants, with new discoveries every year.

Mr Yeo also emphasised that governments alone cannot do all the work; it needs to 'engage the private sector and establish regulatory frameworks which bring positive market forces into play'.

He said technology can solve many of the problems but there must be 'right incentives' and the involvement of the local communities while non-governmental organisations can 'play a very positive role monitoring progress and blowing whistles'.

Channel NewsAsia 25 Apr 07
Developed countries urged to take lead in carbon emission control


SINGAPORE: Singapore has called on the developed nations to continue to take the lead on reducing carbon emissions.

However, Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo said that in giving prescription to developing countries, they must not be seen as self-serving.

Speaking at a high-level event on climate change in New York convened by the UN Secretary General, he stressed that developmental needs must not be ignored.

Unless the system encourages local inhabitants to protect trees instead of chopping them down, the problem of deforestation cannot be solved.

While Mr Yeo said there must be assistance by developed countries in resources and expertise, he stressed that there must be a system of surveillance and control to ensure that money is properly used and not channelled into the wrong hands.

Mr Yeo said the recent APEC Summit issued a Leaders' declaration on climate change which, though not binding, set high aspirations. He noted that the US, in a few days' time, will also be convening a meeting of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

In November, the East Asia Summit and the ASEAN-EU Summit, both to be held in Singapore, will have climate change high up on the agenda.

Stressing the need for collective action to reduce carbon emission, Mr Yeo called on the US, as the world's biggest emitter, to take the lead. Increasingly, China and India will need to be involved as well as they are becoming big emitters because of huge populations.

Developing countries should slow down the increase in carbon emissions, based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and their respective capabilities. It should also be carried out in a manner which does not stifle their economic growth.

But the minister stressed governments alone cannot do all the work. They must engage the private sector and establish regulatory frameworks which bring positive market forces into play.

While technology can solve many of the problems, the right incentives must be in place, like the help of local communities. NGOs too can play a very positive role monitoring progress and blowing whistles. - CNA/vm

Yahoo News 24 Sep 07
Nations with tropical forests pledge conservation

Leaders from 11 tropical nations, including Brazil and Indonesia, reaffirmed their commitment on the sidelines of a UN summit on climate change to conserve their forests but warned they faced a hard task.

The countries, which together control half of the world's tropical forests, vowed cooperation "to slow, stop and reverse the loss of forest cover and to promote the rehabilitation of degraded forest lands, forest management and conservation."

But the 11 states, in a joint statement, also said the challenge of curbing greenhouse-gases from deforestation "is as complex and cumbersome for developing countries as for developed countries reducing emissions from industry and energy sectors."

The meeting gathered leaders and ministers from Brazil, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Peru. It was chaired by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

The statement said the 11 were concerned over a warning, issued this year by the UN's top scientists, that climate change would widely damage forests.

Tropical rainforests serve as sources of livelihood and repositories of cultural heritage, and provide habitat for biodiversity and storehouses of genetic resources that can be exploited for food, medicine and other goods, they said.

Deforestation accounts for roughly a fifth of global-warming gases.

Indonesia hosts a pivotal UN meeting at Bali in December to determine a new formula to combat global warming.

Today Online 26 Sep 07
Big boys should take green lead
FM Yeo: US, China, India must act to cut carbon emissions
Jason Lee

SINGAPORE'S Foreign Minister George Yeo has stressed the importance of collective action in reducing carbon emissions, with a call for the United States, China and India to take the lead.

The US and China are the world's biggest emitters of carbon dioxide today, while India is becoming a big emitter because of its huge population.

The minister, however, noted that the US is taking steps which include the convening of an upcoming meeting of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases to address the issue.

Mr Yeo made the call at the United Nations meeting on climate change on Monday the largest gathering ever of world leaders, from over 150 countries, to discuss global warming issues and set the agenda for the opening of negotiations on a new and stronger international treaty to stem rising world temperatures later this year.

But while Mr Yeo said developed countries must continue to take the lead in reducing emissions, he cautioned against ignoring the needs of developing countries.

"Prescriptions by developed countries to developing countries on carbon emissions are sometimes perceived as self-serving. We cannot ignore developmental needs ... There must be assistance by developed countries in resources and expertise," he said.

He also said that corruption could hamper efforts to fight climate change. "There must also be a system of surveillance and control to ensure that money is properly used and not channelled into the wrong hands."

Mr Yeo also called on governments to include the private sector and non-government organisations (NGOs) in their battle to save the environment.

"Governments alone cannot do all the work ... NGOs can play a very positive role, monitoring progress and blowing whistles. Without passion and persistence and a sense of the whole earth, we will not be able to overcome the resistance to effective action," he added.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said the one-day summit on climate change had delivered "a clear call from world leaders for a breakthrough" at key talks in December in Bali. The conference is tasked with setting down a road map for negotiations towards a new planetary deal on global warming after the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012.

now is the time to fight climate change

Nearly two-thirds of 22,000 people polled by the BBC yesterday urged governments to combat the issue of climate change now. The respondents, polled from 21 countries, agreed that it is necessary to "take major steps, starting very soon".

Some 79 per cent also agreed that "human activity, including industry and transportation", is causing global warming. More than 73 per cent expressed support for an international agreement on limiting emissions of greenhouse gases to include developing countries. In exchange, these countries would receive financial and technological assistance from richer nations.

Straits Times 26 Sep 07
Two-pronged action needed in global warming fight, says George Yeo

NEW YORK - REDUCING carbon emissions is half the equation in reducing greenhouse gases, Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister George Yeo told global leaders at the United Nations on Monday.

The other half is increasing carbon capture. This involves catching the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide produced by industry and storing it, rather than releasing it into the atmosphere.

Mr Yeo said the fight to cut carbon dioxide emissions - thought to cause global warming - would result in failure without a collective effort.

He called on the United States to take the lead in this, adding: 'Increasingly, China and India will need to be involved as well, as they are becoming big emitters because of huge populations.'

The minister stressed that tropical forests and marine ecosystems played an important role in the health of the planet and should be protected.

He also urged policymakers to take a more active interest in the sciences that can help prevent climate change.

Indonesia, under former president Suharto, had decided to drain large areas of peatland for cultivation, unaware that fires there would be almost impossible to extinguish. Now, every year, Indonesia's neighbours are plagued by the choking haze emitted by mass burning, said Mr Yeo.

He also noted that developed countries could not afford to ignore the needs of developing countries.

'Unless the system encourages local inhabitants to protect trees instead of chopping them down, the problem of deforestation cannot be solved. There must be assistance by developed countries in resources and expertise,' he said. 'However, there must also be a system of surveillance and control to ensure that money is properly used and not channelled into the wrong hands. Corruption is a major problem that has to be overcome.'

The minister said that Singapore and Malaysia were working with neighbouring Indonesian provinces to tackle peatland fires and develop sustainable land-clearing practices.

But 'governments alone cannot do all the work', he noted. The private sector, non-governmental organisations and local communities must also play their part.

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