Manning said this session is being held because of the high priority which climate change has on CHOGM’s agenda.
He said French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Denmark Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon “will be associated with us in our discussions on climate change” in that special session. Sarkozy, Rasmussen and Mr Ban were all expected to arrive in the country today.
With CHOGM being the last international conference before the UN Climate Change Talks in Copenhagen, Denmark from December 7 to 18, Manning was optimistic “with the added weight of these voices together with the voices from the Commonwealth we hope to arrive at a political statement that can add value to the process.”
“One thing that will not happen (at CHOGM) is that we will engage in negotiations.” Asked by reporters whether a united Commonwealth position would have any weight at the Copenhagen summit, Manning replied: “A statement out of CHOGM is not one that one can take lightly.”
Manning reiterated this country’s position that the reduction of greenhouse gases in a country should not be determined on a per-capita basis. “When the Earth responds to concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it does not do so on a per-capita basis, it does it on the basis of absolute emissions,” he observed.
In this context, Manning added: “When we look at the question of absolute emissions, China is the largest emitter in the world, followed by the US. That’s the reality of the situation.”