11 February 2008 American actress Daryl Hannah and Sir Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group, appealed in New York today for concerted global action to face the challenges posed by climate change.
The response to global warming “comes down to a question of values and I think it’s important on a personal level to really examine the ramifications of our actions and of our daily choices,” Ms. Hannah said at a press briefing on the occasion of a General Assembly climate change debate which kicked off today.
“I’m thrilled to see that people are finally starting to recognize the urgency of the situation,” the actress, famous for her work in films like “Splash” and her support for renewable energies, noted.
Speaking at the same briefing, Mr. Branson proposed the creation of an “international war room,” a politically-independent gathering of scientists, economists and others to catalyze the public sector, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and governments to act on a large scale.
“The war room will be a unique combination of entrepreneurial muscle, the best possible data and the power to mobilize resources and influence policy,” he said.
Mr. Branson, whose company has offered a $25 million prize to encourage scientists and inventors to figure out how to extract carbon from the environment, also underscored the necessity of finding a technical solution to the issue of global warming.
In a separate press conference, the top UN climate change official urged increased financial investment and technological innovation to tackle the issue.
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said that they are “the glue that connects action on the part of developed and developing countries.”
Increased financing and emphasis on technology “is not going to come unless rich countries take on ambitious reduction targets and the money is not going to be spent and the technology is not going to be driven unless developing countries put in place real measurable and verifiable mitigation action,” he pointed out.
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