Minister 'gloomy' over climate talks

Minister 'gloomy' over climate talks
MBS sustainability department interns Chen Chen, 22, and Terence Yap, 19, managing a booth where delegates at the forum can try their hand at bottling leftover toiletries that are then donated to a welfare organisation.

It couldtake more natural disasters to push the world into taking concrete steps to tackle climate change, believes Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.

"I just returned from Warsaw, and I am pessimistic," he said on Monday in his first remarks since attending the United Nations talks, which ended last Saturday in Poland.

"My own sense is that at some point the world will face enough disasters, and people will come to their senses and put political pressure on their leaders to do the right thing. It's just that it may not happen quickly enough," said Dr Balakrishnan.

He gave this update on his trip during his opening address at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development at Marina Bay Sands.

The Warsaw climate talks started two weeks ago under the shadow of Super Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated large areas in the Philippines and claiming at least 5,000 lives.

The goal of the talks was to forge an agreement requiring substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which are responsible for global warming, from all major economies, as well as commitments from poorer countries.

But the talks floundered, partly because emerging giants India and China insisted that only developed nations should be bound by the commitments, whereas developing nations like them should be expected to only "enhance (their) actions" to reduce emissions.

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