France says climate outlook gloomy, urges action

Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:38am EDT
 
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By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent

PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy called on all major economies on Friday to act faster to fight global warming, saying new scientific evidence was confirming the "most gloomy scenarios."

Sarkozy, speaking at U.S.-led climate talks of 17 nations responsible for 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, said rich nations should lead by axing greenhouse gas emissions to help slow impacts such as droughts, floods or rising seas.

He did not refer directly to a plan by President George W. Bush on Wednesday to set only a 2025 ceiling on rising U.S. emissions. That was criticized by many U.S. allies as far too weak -- most other rich countries are cutting from a 1990 peak.

"We cannot afford the luxury that one of you remains behind by the roadside because the whole planet needs every one of you," he told delegates to applause in a speech on the second day of the April 17-18 meeting.

"I would like to pass on a simple message to you: the situation is urgent and this urgency must prompt each of us to overcome our defensive reactions, no matter how legitimate they may be," he said.

"Bad news continues to emerge. Scientific models and empirical observations indicate that the events unfolding now confirm the experts' most gloomy scenarios," he said.

"Faster-than-expected melting of ice in the polar regions comes as unwelcome proof."

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<p>France's President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech at after visiting an hospital in Neufchateau, Eastern France April 17, 2008. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer</p>