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Environment secretary John Gummer told a Geneva climate change conference yesterday that a global partnership was u...
Environment secretary John Gummer told a Geneva climate change conference yesterday that a global partnership was urgently needed to combat the threat of climate change.

Mr Gummer said: 'Global climate change needs global action now. The alarm bells ought to be ringing in every capital throughout the world. We must not fail to create a universal partnership to cut greenhouse gas emissions significantly.

'To get a new agreement in Japan next year demands a new urgency in Geneva now.

'In the UK we are more than on course to meet our Rio commitment to return greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2000; in fact our emissions are likely to be some four to eight per cent below. I urge other countries to follow our example in meeting this commitment.

'Globally, we could achieve a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions if all governments were to adopt the following policies and measures, which the UK is committed to implement:

-- Removing subsidies on the use of fossil fuels

-- The introduction of competition into energy markets

-- A significant increase in road fuel duties

-- Improve the fuel efficiency of cars

-- The introduction of a tax on aviation fuel

-- Renewed efforts to improve energy efficiency

-- Improve minimum energy efficiency standards for domestic appliances and office equipment.'

Mr Gummer said the attraction of these policies and measures is that they would have benefits for all countries, both developed and developing.

'Most could also be adopted now by countries who are currently in danger of failing to honour their Rio commitments. The challenge of climate change is a global one requiring action by all countries.

'Last year in Berlin I called on all developed countries to reduce their emission to five to 10 per cent below their 1990 levels by 2010.

'Only a handful of developed countries, including the United Kingdom, appear to be on course to meet their Rio commitments and I urge those who are falling short to re-double their efforts.

'Climate change is not an issue we can afford to ignore, doing nothing is simply no longer an option. We must take the opportunity to put us on the path towards a sustainable future.'

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