Mexico president calls for responsible response to climate change

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Mexico's President Felipe Calderon called for a responsible response to the problem of climate change during his inaugural speech to the 16th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP16) in Cancun on Monday.

"The world is expecting a responsible response from us," he told representatives of the 194 nations attending the COP in Cancun, a resort city in southeastern Mexican state Quintana Roo.

"We have to show in Cancun if we were only able to sign a list of disagreements and pretense, or if we can really start a new phase of taking action on climate change," said Calderon. Calderon led the opening ceremony of the event in the Moon Palace Hotel alongside Rajendra Pachauri, who leads the United Nations' Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change.

The challenge of climate change is a shared one and there should be no rivalry, he said to an audience of more than 1,000 scientists and officials from the 194 nations that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the two observer nations.

"In terms of diplomacy we have to make treaties and agreements; in science we have to research mitigation and technology, and then transfer this technology to the nations that most need it," Calderon said. "The most important thing is the human front, motivating people," he added. Small changes in daily habits can help halt climate change, he said.

"Human behavior caused climate change and human beings will be the ones to top it," he said. "Either we change our lifestyle to stop climate change or climate change will permanently alter the lifestyle of this civilization, and not for the better," he said.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony was UNFCCC secretary general Christiana Figueres; Simona Gomez, an indigenous woman from the mountains of southern Mexican state Chiapas; and Mario Molina, a Mexican who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1995.

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