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Ban, Gore push cut in emissions at summit

UNITED Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Nobel prize winner Al Gore urged more than 500 business leaders yesterday to lend corporate muscle to reaching a global deal on reducing greenhouse gases.

The CEOs of PepsiCo, Nestle, BP and other of the world's major businesses began meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, where politicians will gather in December to negotiate a new UN-brokered climate treaty.

Both Ban and Gore said there was no time for delay working out how to cut greenhouse gases that contribute to planet warming.

"We have to do it this year. Not next year. This year," Gore said. "The clock is ticking, because Mother Nature does not do bailouts."

The three-day World Business Summit on Climate Change is a precursor to negotiations to determine what will succeed the Kyoto treaty that expires in 2012.

"Continuing to pour trillions of dollars into fossil-fuel subsidies is like investing in subprime real estate," Ban said. "Our carbon-based infrastructure is like a toxic asset that threatens the portfolio of global goods, from public health to food security."

A new treaty would build on the Kyoto treaty's mixed success in requiring 37 industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Gore said any of the ambitious treaty goals being discussed will depend on CEOs working out greener ways of doing business and governments reining in unrestricted pollution.

"The business community and the leaders of the world must go together to safeguard the world," he told a forum that also drew Queen Margrethe of Denmark.

Erik Rasmussen, founder of the Copenhagen Climate Council that sponsored the meeting, said business leaders were discussing specific targets for reducing greenhouse gases within 10 to 20 years that would be announced at the end of the conference.


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