San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica calls for swift action in Copenhagen

Costa Rica´s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called on world leaders to take serious action against climate change at the United Nations negotiations in Copenhagen this week and next. Inaction, the foreign relations officials claimed, could have negative consequences for small coastal countries like this one.

In a statement released via e-mail, the ministry said “the potential risks of unmitigated climate change are enormous” and that the phenomenon will have the “most severe impact on countries with scant natural resources and limited capacity to adapt to climate challenges.”

According to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, small nations contribute the least to global warming but suffer the most consequences from a warmer planet – rises in sea levels could shrink coastal land and stronger storms wipe out vital national agriculture sectors, the convention states.

The foreign relations authorities said they consider “a successful agreement of vital importance.”

The statement cited reliance on renewable energy sources and a 2021 carbon neutrality goal as evidence of Costa Rica´s commitment to slow emissions. Dependence on imported oil for to generate energy has increased in recent years, however, and the possibility of reaching zero net emissions in just over a decade has drawn doubts as of late.

The climate change negotiations in northern Europe are not expected to yield a binding legal treaty, but officials hope that delegates will reach general consensus on capping global emissions and providing financial aid to developing countries, such as Costa Rica, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Foreign ministries from Cape Verde, Iceland, Singapore, Slovenia and the United Arab Emirates, all small coastal nations, released similar statements on Tuesday.

The proclamation comes on the same day that the World Meteorological Organization projected that 2009 will be the fifth warmest year on record and that the first 10 years of this century mark the hottest decade on the books.

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