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Seven countries sign declaration on climate change
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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday joined 26 counterparts from six countries to sign a declaration acknowledging the threats of global warming on natural resources and economic prosperity.

The declaration, signed at the Governors' Global Climate Summit being held in Los Angeles, calls on states and provinces to build and strengthen cooperative efforts to implement strategies that can immediately reduce greenhouse gas emissions in advance of the next global agreement on climate change.

"During this Summit, we had great discussions about the different responsibilities of developed and developing nations and how we must all work together for a healthier planet," Schwarzenegger said.

"Reversing the damage done by global warming is the great environmental challenge of the 21st Century, and I am proud that California and our co-host states are advancing the international policy debate through state and provincial partnerships. With this Summit declaration, we are establishing a framework to help negotiators next month in Poland and next year in Copenhagen as they draft a successor to the Kyoto Protocol," he noted.

The declaration focuses efforts on the largest emitting sectors including forestry, agriculture, cement, iron, aluminum, energy and transportation.

Leaders at the summit committed to establishing workgroups by sector to develop individual sector-specific position papers within the next six months on possible policy options to inform and advance United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) international negotiations toward the next global climate agreement.

To help reduce staff costs, leaders agreed to utilize non-government organizations (NGO) such as The Climate Group, Environmental Defense Fund, International Council on Clean Transportation and Center for Clean Air Policy to provide staff support and specialized expertise to coordinate working groups and draft position papers. In many cases, these NGOs already are working on policy options to be considered by the global community and this helps relieve some of the fiscal burden from governments.

The declaration commits signers to establishing and expanding existing global networks to help develop additional cooperative actions throughout the world. Partnerships formed at the summit will help expand opportunities among states and provinces that complement existing efforts to further explore specific mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The declaration calls for strategies such as technology transfer, incentive programs, sharing of best practices and market- or non market-based programs.

Fourteen U.S. governors and their counterparts from Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, India and China signed the declaration.

More than 800 attendees from more than 50 states and provinces in seven countries were attending the two-day summit which opened on Tuesday. The United Nations and European Union also sent representatives to the summit.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2008)

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