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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Climate foes bury hatchet
Tribune at Johannesburg summit
The World Development summit is producing surprises
Alex Kirby

Two organisations with a history of mutual distrust bordering on outright enmity have sunk their differences to tackle climate change.

The two are Greenpeace International and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

In a move which has nonplussed delegates to the World Development Summit here, they have issued "a joint call for action".

They describe their campaign as "this unprecedented event".

Innovation

Announcing their call, the two groups say: "Greenpeace is well-known for its disagreements with and campaigns against the activities of some of the companies who are members of the WBCSD.


This is an example of a co-operative approach from a non-government organisation which we welcome.

Lord Holme
Business Action for Sustainable Development
The council is well-known for advocating a market-based and free trade approach to solving environmental problems, including voluntary measures that often differ radically from Greenpeace approaches.

However, the WBCSD and Greenpeace share the same belief that the threat of human-induced climate change requires strong efforts and innovation by all sectors in a common international framework.

They have agreed to convene a dialogue to urge governments to act more forcefully to provide an international political framework that enables, stimulates and rewards innovation and implementation.

Together Greenpeace and the WBCSD also call on others in both the public and private sectors to step up action to combat the climate change risks."

Co-operation

The UK politician and business leader Lord Holme is vice-chairman of Business Action for Sustainable Development.

He told BBC News Online: "I'm sure Greenpeace will remain critical of some businesses at some times.

Anti-privatisation activists in Johannesburg
Activists are challenging business interests
But this is an example of a co-operative approach from a non-government organisation which we welcome."

The council is a grouping of 160 international companies, from more than 30 countries.

Its members include some key hate figures for environment and development campaigners.

Among them are Nestle, condemned over the sale of infant formula, and biotechnology companies like Aventis and Monsanto.

Cogema, a French firm which reprocesses nuclear fuel, is there. So are some of the oil giants: BP, Chevron Texaco, Conoco and Shell.

Carmakers like Daimler-Chrysler and General Motors, chemical companies including DuPont and Imperial Chemical Industries, are listed.

Surprises

Greenpeace has campaigned vigorously against nuclear reprocessing, genetically-modified organisms and the burning of fossil fuels.

Yet it now judges the time right to make common cause with those it recently targeted, in the face of what both sides see as a still greater threat.

Some campaigners are accusing business outright of hijacking the conference.

This is a summit of surprises.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's David Loyn
"The World Bank is positioning itself firmly on the side of the poor"
The BBC's Hilary Andersson in Johannesburg
"The fisheries agreement, if it's carried out, will make a big impact on the poor of this world"

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See also:

25 Aug 02 | Africa
25 Aug 02 | Science/Nature
22 Aug 02 | Africa
06 Aug 02 | Africa
27 Aug 02 | Africa
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