UN Climate Chief: We need to do more to avert disaster
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12/07/10 Kelly Benjamin
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The United Nations Climate Change talks continued in Cancun, Mexico today. WMNF's Kelly Benjamin is there and reports that the Executive Secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christina Figueres, said that coming up with a solution to the problem of climate change is going to take a much larger and serious commitment from nations of the world.

"I would like to ask you to, also, step up to the plate more than you have been doing. Yes, I recognize that you have been very helpful in this, but the time has come for us to start asking much more on the ground in consonance with our governments instead of analyzing sustainable developments.

"We know. We know the theory. What we need to prove is we have to have very concrete examples that we can point to. That we can say 'this is the way it's done.' Currently we don't have a single country that can say 'this is a successful model of green growth,' because we only have those in specific sectors in isolated countries. We need concrete examples of countries that have actually pursued green growth. Countries that have actually pursued sustainable development that incorporates climate so that we can actually point to it and say, 'this is the way we've done it.' And the UN has the privilege and the responsibility to help governments be those pioneers."

Meanwhile, outside the talks, indigenous groups, farmers, and peasants from across Latin America led by Via Campesina continued their protests across downtown Cancun.

One of the people at the march was American Medea Benjamin of Code Pink.

"I came because I want to be part of the people's movement that puts pressure on the officials here to say we recognize this as grassroots people that we're in crisis and we want you to do something."

Benjamin says she's disappointed in the US's role in the Climate negotiations

"I feel terrible as a US citizen that my government, even under the Obama administration, is the biggest slacker around and we're the ones that really helped derail the process in Copenhagen by not advocating for another binding agreement like the Kyoto process and that here in Cancun we continue to push for a non-binding agreement. And that, according to the developing countries, is not good enough."

Many feel that part of the problem stemming from the US's role is that there isn't a broad recognition climate change is a serious problem for the planet. Tony Clark is a with a Canadian NGO, the Polaris Institute:

"This is a huge gamble with humanity and the planet even if you don't believe, at least recognize that the losses could be horrendous and it's time to wake up and smell the coffee."

Negotiations in hopes of reaching an international agreement to address the heating up of the planet due to greenhouse gas emissions will continue for the rest of the week.

Previous WMNF coverage of COP 16

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