Colombian President Alvaro Uribe addressed the UN Climate Change Conference Thursday. He demanded serious action not “rhetoric” from his fellow delegates.
“This meeting needs agreements, ambitious goals, verification tools and a sanction regime. Verification and sanctions make the difference between rhetoric speeches and serious obligations”, he said in a speech at the conference in Copenhagen.
The right-wing premier detailed his country’s efforts to protect its rainforests: “The Forest Keepers Families Program, supervised by the United Nations and financed by Colombia, is essential to protect the jungle and give communities an income to avoid deforestation in those zones where the jungle is replaced by illicit drugs or commercial agriculture. Until now, Colombia has invested more than US$400 million of its own budget in that program and has protected 90,000 rural families against the temptation of illicit drugs”, he asserted.
Uribe claimed that Colombia is committed to decreasing its carbon emissions, even as its economy develops, and using alternative energy sources such as hydroelectric power, ethanol and bio-diesel.
Colombia has suffered from the effects of climate change; from the melting of the Nevada de Cocuy ice cap, to drought, erosion and sea level rises, which threaten to flood its Pacific coast and could destroy 15% of San Andres Island. The Andean nation is ranked 80th in the list of countries most affected by extreme weather events.