The General Assembly of Green Cross today adopted a statement on Haiti, urging world leaders to speed up preparedness to natural calamites as part of a rapid and strong response to climate change.
The statement paid condolences to the victims of the Haiti earthquake and noted that it painfully demonstrates human fragility in front of the forces of nature. “Haiti’s tragedy is a poignant reminder of the unfinished business in Copenhagen,” the assembly affirmed. “The climate change related mitigation and adaptation measures can help us respond not only to the destructive potential of climate change-induced natural catastrophes, but to other national disasters similar to Haiti’s.”
The biennial General Assembly brought together more than 100 delegates from the global network of Green Cross and was presided by President Gorbachev, the Founding President. Among the keynote opening speakers were Mr. Sergei Ordzhonikidze, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Dr. Hamadoun Touré, Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union.
“Fifteen years from now, two-thirds of the earth’s population will suffer water shortages,” said Mr. Ordzhonikidze. “In Africa, fertile land is already turning to desert and by 2020, climate change is predicated to reduce some African farming harvests by 50 percent. In Asia, the homes of close to 100 million people could be flooded by the end of the century, leading to large-scale migration.“
Dr. Hamadoun Touré, the newest member to join the Climate Change Task Force (CCTF), that with ‘business as usual’ we will be at 965 parts per million of carbon levels at the end of this century. “We need everyone – rich and poor, developed and developing countries alike – to be aware of the need to limit the extent of global warming to two degrees at the very most, and to bring carbon levels back down to 350 parts per million,” he said.
Dr. Toure noted that more efficient use of modern technologies could cut global power consumption by 15%. He also emphasized that a big mental shift was needed in the language of climate change – from ‘burden sharing’ to ‘opportunity sharing. ‘
The statement on Haiti was read out by Mr. Alexander Likhotal, President of Green Cross International. President Gorbachev inspired delegates to redouble their efforts at strengthening the Green Cross global network and build on its successes. The Chairman of the GCI Board of Directors, Dr. Jan Kulczyk welcomed Australia and Sri Lanka to the network as full-fledged members and Ghana in the process of becoming a member.