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PM takes on climate change

PM takes on climate change

Hun Sen emphasises importance of protecting the ozone layer.

PRIME Minister Hun Sen issued a statement calling for the conservation and protection of the environment to coincide with Wednesday’s “International Day for the Ozone Layer”.

“The tsunami, drought, storms, rising temperatures and climate change have directly affected Cambodia and many other countries,” the prime minister said in a statement released Monday. “These are all signals to inform humanity about the danger of global warming.”

The prime minister’s remarks came a day before the World Bank released its World Development Report (WDR) for 2010, titled “Development and Climate Change”. In a teleconference from the United States on Tuesday that coincided with the release of the report, a panel of World Bank experts emphasised the need for immediate action to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

A challenge for Cambodia, the World Bank experts said, is the fact that economic sectors that have been among the main engines of the country’s economic growth over the past few years also generate high emissions.

“In the case of Cambodia … you have the construction and the garment sectors, and there is the dilemma between the need for growth and the need for reducing emissions,” said Justin Lin, the World Bank’s senior vice president for development economics.

Although developing nations such as Cambodia currently constitute only 3 percent of global emissions, they will need to adapt to clean-energy technology in the near future to avoid falling behind in the global marketplace, said Xiaodong Wang, the World Bank’s senior energy specialist for the East Asia Pacific Region.

It is this challenge that Hun Sen said the Kingdom is already attempting to meet. Although Cambodia is working hard to develop economically and build its infrastructure, Hun Sen emphasised that these efforts must occur in step with environmentally friendly practices, noting that Cambodia signed 2001’s Montreal Protocol on ozone layer protection.

Cambodia has already ceased importing and producing chemicals that damage the ozone layer, Hun Sen said, vowing commitment on this issue.

“Protecting the ozone layer saves lives on Earth,” he said.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JAMES O’TOOLE

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