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Philippines urges rich nations to act on climate change
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  • BANGKOK, Sept 30 (AFP) Sep 30, 2009
    The Philippines strongly urged developed countries Wednesday to cut greenhouse gas emissions to stem the impact of climate change in the wake of its worst flooding in decades.

    Tropical storm Ketsana dumped the heaviest rain in more than 40 years on Manila and its neighbouring areas over the weekend, killing 246 people and affecting more than two million.

    It continued to leave a trail of destruction across Southeast Asia Wednesday, killing at least 49 people in Vietnam and Cambodia and smashing into Laos.

    At talks in Bangkok over a global climate treaty, the Philippines' chief negotiator Secretary Heherson Alvarez said he hoped "the sense of urgency, the sense of need for safe protection" was conveyed to rich countries.

    "Tropical storm Ketsana is clearly a manifestation of the consequences of global inaction in addressing the immediate impacts of creeping climate change," he said.

    Rich countries must act "to moderate these storms and spare the whole world from the impoverishing and devastating impacts of climate change, especially to low-lying archipelagic island-nations like the Philippines," he added.

    The Philippines is calling for developed countries to make "deep and early cuts of emissions" of more than 30 percent from 2013 to 2017 and more than 50 percent from 2018 to 2022, pegged to 1990 levels.

    He said the current targets of industrialised nations, accounting for 15 to 22 percent, were "not very encouraging."

    Alvarez also said they were pushing developed countries to ensure support and financing for an adaptation package for poorer countries, to combat the effects of global warming.

    If the storm spurred on the negotiations then "the ruin and the pain may not have been in vain," he told reporters.

    "Bangkok would be a take-off point in the consciousness-raising so that we may be able with clearer vision to address this grave danger to the future of humanity," he added.

    The divide between rich and poor nations has continued to dominate crucial negotiations here in Bangkok, the penultimate session to develop a draft climate treaty before world leaders meet in Copenhagen in December.

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