December 12, 2008 / 3:40 PM / 11 years ago

Al Gore rouses U.N. climate talks to more action

POZNAN, Poland (Reuters) - Former Vice President Al Gore urged weary climate delegates to agree a new climate treaty next year and drew loud cheers on the last day of difficult two-week U.N. climate talks on Friday.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore gestures as he gives a speech during the U.N. climate change conference in Poznan December 12, 2008. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel

The talks were on course to meet a minimum goal, to sign off on a fund to help poor nations prepare for global warming, but they were likely to delay any decision on climate targets.

Gore urged 145 environment ministers gathered in the western Polish city of Poznan to put aside climate blame squabbles which have marred the talks for years and agree a climate treaty in Copenhagen next December.

“The struggle is palpable here in Poznan,” he said.

“It can be done, it must be done,” said the 2000 presidential candidate, climate crusader and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner.

“We now face a crisis that makes it abundantly clear that increased CO2 emissions anywhere are a threat to the integrity of this planet’s climate balance everywhere.”

“As a result the old divide between the North and South, between developed and developing countries is a divide that must become obsolete.”

He said the world’s two biggest carbon emitters China and the United States were both ready to lead the fight against climate change. The U.N. talks are meant to push a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which limits neither country.

Gore said the inspiration of U.S. President elect Barack Obama could push the talks over the finish-line in Copenhagen.

“I would like to relay to you a message that I’ve heard from the people of the United States of America this year, that I think is very relevant to the task the world is facing over this next year — ‘Yes we can’,” he said.

Obama swept to victory last month on a promise of bringing about change in the United States, pushing an upbeat slogan of ‘Yes, we can’.

U.N. talks have stumbled on splits between the rich and poor, oil producers and small island states vulnerable to rising seas. Red tape and complex jargon has also got in the way.

Gore said recession was no reason for inaction and urged a “Green New Deal,” a program of massive investments, which U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon endorsed on Thursday.

Famous for his “Inconvenient Truth” film charting evidence for climate change, Gore won the loudest cheers for supporting a tougher limit on levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than a widespread aim of 450 parts per million or more.

“We will soon need to toughen that goal to 350,” he said.

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