Change Suite

Poor nations must set own emissions targets: Mexico

LONDON (Reuters) - Developing nations must adopt targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and they need to do their share to reduce global warming, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Wednesday.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon arrives at a British-Mexico Business seminar in London, March 31, 2009. Calderon is on a state visit to Britain before Thursday's G20 summit. REUTERS/Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool

Developing countries -- so far exempt from meeting emissions targets -- need to help solve the world’s most pressing problem, global warming, and stop blaming rich nations for causing it, he said in a speech at the British Council.

“Talking as a developing nation is difficult for me because fellow leaders in developing nations say that industrialized nations provoked the problem and they have enough money to fix it,” he said. “We need to change that point of view.”

Calderon echoes similar comments made last month by Brazil’s environment minister and mark an important switch as the world prepares a new United Nations deal on global warming.

Developing nations had not been expected to set targets as part of a new deal. A new climate treaty will be discussed in Copenhagen in December to replace the Kyoto Protocol after 2012.

Calderon was speaking ahead of a meeting of G20 leaders in London on Thursday, which could include a commitment by leaders to sign a new global environment deal this year.

He said developing countries were “right in some ways” to resist adopting targets to cut emissions “but everyone wants to collaborate to fix the problem of climate change.”

“There are two things that threaten the very existence of humanity: the gap between man and nature and the gap between north and south, between rich and poor,” he said.

However, Calderon said the world lacked the instruments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

“We need to realize that the instruments that Kyoto created were unhelpful for our purposes. The right instruments are the right economic incentives for the countries, because money is the best incentive for anyone,” he said.

He proposed that the world create a “green fund,” which could help countries finance programs to raise energy efficiency, whereby every nation contributed depending on their financial ability.

Calderon said this could be similar to the way countries pay different quotas to the United Nations or the International Monetary Fund. “Any single country must contribute to create the fund under the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities,” he said.

He said Mexico was aiming to have one quarter of its total energy provided by renewable energy sources by 2012.

Mexico plans to expand wind power and Calderon said Germany’s Q-Cells was considering building a solar cell factory in Mexico with investment of up to $3 billion.

Editing by Louise Ireland