Wales to Tell the World: Follow Our Lead in Fighting Climate Change; Environment Minister Will takeWelsh Example to Copenhagen Summit
Byline: David Williamson
WALES has provided the example for other nations to follow in the race to drive down carbon emissions, Environment Minister Jane Davidson will tell leaders at the global climate change summit in Copenhagen this week.
The AM is travelling to the city by train with a message that industrial nations like Wales can make the necessary changes to avert the disastrous consequences of global warming.
Just as states were forced to act when out-of-control money markets brought the world to the brink of financial collapse, she believes international action is needed now to prevent ecological catastrophe. She said: "People understand that about money. They don't yet understand that about the climate and carbon."
Ms Davidson, pictured below, who is co-chair of the Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development, will also argue that the sweeping cuts needed around the world can only be achieved if lower levels of government are on board.
Earlier this year she joined California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a world gathering of regional leaders to prepare for the Copenhagen summit.
She will state that the targets and policies pushed forward in Wales can be imitated by regions in new industrial superpowers such as China and India.
She wants pressure put on politicians in the US Congress whose support President Barack Obama will need to pass any deal on cutting carbon emissions.
Labour leader Carwyn Jones is also planning to attend the Copenhagen event following his appointment this week as First Minister.
One of Rhodri Morgan's final acts as First Minister has been to sign up to a 10% reduction in carbon pollution in 2010 across the Assembly Government estate.
This sits alongside a long-term goal of cutting Wales' total emissions by 3% a year, resulting in an 80% cut by 2050.
Last month a pounds 4m research project involving academics acrossWales was launched to prepare for the impact on climate change.
AMs from all the political parties came together in November and voted for a 40% cut in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Ms Davidson said: "We go to Copenhagen in an almost unique position because as a nation we have committed ourselves to the type of cuts which are the 'big ask' at Copenhagen.
"That makes us very important as a nation and that's why I'm absolutely delighted Carwyn has said he'll be there as the new First Minister. He'll demonstrate how his government will take that forward."
She said the example of Wales will be more compelling because of its tradition of high carbon emissions, in large part due to its reliance on heavy industry.
The minister hopes this will convince leaders of other regions and nations that "if a country like Wales can do that" they can too.
She said: "[We] can help other countries becausewehave spent two-and-ahalf years deciding on an all-party, all-sector basis how we can achieve this."
By offering Wales' strategy as a route map for other states to follow, she hopes a global response to the threat of climate change can take place without delay.
This would remove the need, she argued, for other regions to "reinvent the wheel". …