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Climate change high on the agenda at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

Commonwealth reaches climate consensus at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

The 53 member states of the Commonwealth have called for an 'internationally legally binding agreement' on climate change to be agreed at the Copenhagen conference next week.

In a statement released at the end of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Trinidad and Tobago, leaders also expressed their support for a Copenhagen Launch Fund to help poorer countries tackle climate change.

Gordon Brown proposed the fund, which would reach $10 billion annually by 2012, so that the fight against climate change could begin immediately. The CHOGM statement said fast start funding for adaptation to climate change should be focused on the most vulnerable countries.

The communiqué read:

'Many of us from small island states, low-lying coastal states and least developed countries face the greatest challenges, yet have contributed least to the problem of climate change.'

'Science, and our own experience, tells us that we only have a few short years to address this threat. The average global temperature has risen because of the increase in carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. The latest scientific evidence indicates that in order to avoid dangerous climate change that is likely to have catastrophic impacts we must find solutions using all available avenues. We must act now.'

During his podcast, Gordon Brown said the next stage was to find a financial agreement at Copenhagen that everybody could accept.

'We've got to recognise that if we're asking poor countries to take action against climate change, and they want to take action, we've got to provide some financial help for them to do so.'

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the Commonwealth Declaration on Climate Change was a unique agreement from a group of nations representing a third of the world’s population who are ''all desperate for action''.

An urgent message from young people to Commonwealth leaders

The above film was launched in Port of Spain on Friday morning (27th November), ahead of the discussion on climate change. With more than half of the Commonwealth's 2 billion citizens are under 25 years of age, the film is a passionate message from young people to their leaders urging them to put aside their differences and act on Copenhagen.

Related links

CHOGM 2009

CHOGM 2009, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Commonwealth leaders head to Trinidad & Tobago, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Climate Change and the Commonwealth (PDF 1.54MB)

The Commonwealth Conversation

PM’s message on the Commonwealth, Number 10 26 November 2009