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WWF Response to the World Climate Change Conference in Moscow

WASHINGTON - The World Wildlife Fund noted that the World Climate Change Conference in Moscow, Russia, ended today with a strong confirmation of the findings and recommendations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the scientific body providing scientific information on climate change for the United Nations.

The summary conclusions of the World Climate Change Conference state "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has provided the basis for much of our present understanding of knowledge in this field in its Third Assessment Report (TAR) in 2001. An overwhelming majority of the scientific community has accepted its general conclusions that climate change is occurring, is primarily a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and that this represents a threat to people and ecosystems."

"The scientific conference in Moscow has re-confirmed the urgency and the enormous threat that climate change presents for all parts of the world, including Russia," said Jennifer Morgan, director of WWF's International Climate Change Program. "We urge Russia to ratify before the next elections on December 7 take place: There is no time to lose."

The conference, convened by the Russian government and supported by international climate change organizations from September 29 to October 3, 2003, focused on reviewing the science behind the climate change problem.

Russian President Vladimir Putin opened the Conference with a speech on Monday, September 29, stating that his government was examining the Kyoto Protocol, the world's main tool to combat global warming. So far 118 countries have ratified the Protocol, but Russia's ratification is pivotal to bring the Protocol into force. The annexes to the conclusions of the Conference include strong support for Kyoto ratification by businesses, scientists and civil society.

Germany's Chancellor Schroder will visit President Putin next week. Kyoto Protocol ratification is on the agenda.

Recognizing the problem of potential global climate change, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. It is open to all members of the UN and WMO.