At the gathering, organized by the Swedish European Union (EU) presidency, Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren told delegates that the current economic turmoil is “the deepest which we will experience during our lifetime.”
He said the global financial crisis was no excuse for inaction on tackling climate change.
“(But) as you know, we should not be naive. There are those really arguing that this should make us more reluctant, should make us hesitate and maybe wait for real action,” Carlgren said.
It is under the Swedish presidency that the EU will finalize its joint position for international talks on climate change in the Danish capital Copenhagen in December.
EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas echoed Carlgren’s views, saying the crisis was “no reason to slow down” but more of an “opportunity for decisive action.”
Dimas said moving towards low-carbon economy would allow the 27-member bloc to take advantage of “the fast-growing markets for environment technologies, services and products.”
“We would also increase the security of our energy supplies,” he said.
The goal of a common EU position on climate change is to forge a global deal to tackle global warming following the expiration of the current Kyoto Protocol in 2012.
EU nations in 2007 committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels.
Emerging economies such as India and China, however, have refused to commit
to carbon emission cuts until developed nations, particularly the United States, present sufficient targets of their own.
They say any new global climate pact should not hinder the economic growth of developing countries.