Reinfeldt calls for big countries to act on climate

Sweden wants the US, China and India to be 'committed to tackling global warming', Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said on Monday.

Reinfeldt calls for big countries to act on climate
Photo: Magnus Fröderberg/Nordbild

He said global efforts to address the problem are not enough, which is why Sweden will try to push for the global warming agenda when it will take over the European Union presidency in the autumn of 2009.

Reinfeldt said the EU is ‘important, but not enough’ in tackling climate change, adding that Sweden would like to pave the way for a ‘post Kyoto’ agreement to take place.

He added that his government is financing several United Nations’ initiatives and agencies active in this field around the world, and would like to step up environmental efforts on the global level and on the local level –such as tackling issues related to Baltic Sea over-fishing.

“What is needed is formulating policies for sustainable development around the world through a renewed political impulse,” that would use “market mechanisms and technology as tools that can tackle global warming.'”

“No one is safe, global warming is affecting everyone,” and it is becoming ever harder for stakeholders to address the issue without more global cooperation, he said in his opening speech for the World Water Week 2007 in Stockholm.

Stockholm, a city surrounded by water, has been hosting this conference since 1991. This year more than 2,000 delegates from 140 countries are participating in week-long deliberations on climate change, water politics, poverty, investments among other issues.

According to Anders Berntell, the Director General of the Swedish International Water Institute (SIWI), climate change is threatening global security, not only in terms of water, but also in political terms. He said that the next Human Development Report, which would be released by the UN later this year, will have for the first time a section assessing global efforts on climate change.

SIWI, the organizers of the conference, expect that the 2007 conference will focus on the critical need for improved sanitation around the world. So far sanitation has been on top of the conference agenda for this year, since there are almost 600 million people around the world without sanitation, and the figures are increasing in developing continents such as Africa, Berntell said.

Another prevalent theme this year is money.

Most deliberations have so far indicated that investors are only ‘toe deep in water,’ as SIWI described it.

“The number of water funds is increasing, however, concerns over profit generation, high risk/low return, inefficiency and instability inhibit investors. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that in the 1990s, $280 billion was spent dealing with the aftermath of water-related disasters that $40 billion in preventive investment could’ve helped avert,” SIWI said in a statement published Monday morning.

The world water week will also included the distribution of several prizes including the Stockholm Water Prize, and the King of Sweden is scheduled to make an appearance to stress Sweden’s support for climate issues.

Rami Abdelrahman