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Meeting of minds to combat climate change

About 600 opinion leaders from governments, business and the science community from across Asia will convene next Friday in Bangkok to discuss practical measures to fight climate change.

Published on November 15, 2007

The international conference, "Asia's Emerging Response to Climate Change", kicks-off with the latest predictions of how the world - and particularly Asia - is predicted to heat up at different rates this century.

Policy makers, academics and business experts will then lay out response plans in key areas including energy, environment, mega-cities and adaptation strategies for society and industrial sectors.

The conference is being organised by The Nation, Krungthep Turakij and Asia News Network, an alliance of 16 leading newspapers in 14 Asian countries. Thailand's Energy Ministry is among a host of sponsors for the event.

"So much has been said about climate change and its broad impacts at the world level, but we need to start looking closer to home in Asia. What will happen here and how should we prepare a response?" said Pana Janviroj, president of The Nation.

"We also hope the conference will be a stepping stone for future networking among actors in key sectors within the region."

More-over, all eyes will be watching Asia as the region hosts the upcoming United Nations summit on climate change in Bali, Indonesia, in December, Pana added.

The 169 countries and government entities will begin their official round of "post-Kyoto" discussions to prepare the world for the next phase of carbon emission reduction after the Kyoto Protocol comes to the end in 2012.

Thailand's Science and Environment Minister Yong-yuth Yuthavong, himself a noted scientist, will give the inaugural speech highlighting the challenges - particular to Asia.

Dr Han Seungsoo, United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Change and former deputy prime minister of the Republic of Korea, will then deliver a keynote address about the critical role of international diplomacy among all nations to ensure a more rapid and effective response to global warming.

The under-publicised, but critical issue of international security repercussions from climate change will be highlighted by Prof Dr Brahma Chellaney, a leading strategic-affairs specialist from India. He will discuss how countries must be prepared for mass migration and food shortages following the increasing frequency of extreme weather events like typhoons, floods and droughts.

Lu Xuedu from China, the world's fastest growing industrial economy, and one of the biggest contributors to carbon emission, will present China's current plan to combat global warming.

Wrapping up the conference will be a panel discussion by leaders from regional and multinational corporations on how political will and technology combined can help industries become greener.

 Opening the conference will be Christopher Seeley from the Clinton Climate Initiative, William J Clinton Foundation in New York.

The Nation

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