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Millennium Development Goals and Climate Change

The UK Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was discussing action on climate change recently at a conference of young people, in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, starting in Copenhagen within the next 24 hours.  One of the questioners talked of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and asked how the world would be able to tackle global warming successfully given that the progress on these goals has been slow so far.

Tackling climate change is one part of ensuring development and it is the world's poorest who are already suffering more because of flooding, extreme weather and crop failures.  Even in the UK people are suffering from events such as the recent flooding in Cumbria.  I heard that insurance companies are keen to promote a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, to try to limit the amount they will have to pay out otherwise. 

There are those who try to deny that the world is warming or that carbon dioxide from fossil fuels is a major cause.  Recently Melanie Phillips, the Daily Mail columnist, was on BBC Question Time saying that there was no evidence.  As another panellist pointed out, the world's ice is melting.   

Going back to the Millennium Development Goals, have you any idea what they are?  Before I checked on the internet I first tried to think what I knew.  I thought of poverty, health, education, food, clean water and shelter, all within the framework of global justice.

There are eight Millennium Development Goals.  They were adopted by 189 nations and signed by 147 heads of state or governments at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000.  The goals are intended to be met by 2015 which is not that far ahead.  I think that the world had better get into gear if there is to be any hope of the goals being met by then.  You might well think that the goals are not even as ambitious as they should be. 

I am going to write soon on my blog about each of the eight goals in turn so watch this space and join the debate.   

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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