(01-24-2008) Gore, Bono warn World Economic Forum - USA Today* - U2 Feedback

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Old 01-24-2008, 04:39 PM   #1
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(01-24-2008) Gore, Bono warn World Economic Forum - USA Today*

Gore, Bono warn World Economic Forum

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Former Vice President Al Gore and U2 front man Bono offered measured praise Thursday for efforts in tackling climate change and global poverty, but warned the World Economic Forum that conditions were not improving as much as they could.
At an early-morning session that drew several hundred attendees, many clutching cups of coffee or tea to stave off sleep, Gore warned that the world climate crisis was worsening.

"We could take the whole session talking just about the new scientific evidence of the last few weeks and months," said Gore, who shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to fight climate change, adding that the "climate crisis is significantly worse and unfolding more rapidly."

Bono, a vocal and high-profile advocate of reducing global poverty by providing debt relief to African nations and boosting efforts to treat and prevent AIDS, had similar comments to make on those issues.

"There are now two million Africans on retroviral drugs and that is pretty astonishing," Bono said, wearing his trademark orange sunglasses. But, he added, efforts by the Group of Eight to pledge $50 billion annually to eliminate poverty had not been met.

"Well, that's not so good and it's strange because the good news makes the bad news even worse," he said. "The G-8 are not making good on their commitments."

"This is a scandal," Bono said.

But he said there were encouraging signs.

He said German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told him she will press for recommitment.

"She has promised to put that right, and that is courageous" considering that Germany is already spending 4% of its gross domestic product on its own efforts to reunify east and west Germany, Bono said.

He noted that French President Nicolas Sarkozy told him earlier this month that he, too, would try to keep France's commitments to the poorest of the poor even though he had his own campaign commitments to improve the lives of the French people.

He said the Group of Eight industrial powers had given only about half of the increase to $50 billion a year in aid to Africa that it had targeted in its 2005 summit at Gleneagles, Scotland.

But he said progress that has been made shows the value of trying.

Gore said attempts to stop global warming also must be stepped up.

"We are putting at risk all of human civilization," Gore said, but added, "With a global compact the world can solve the climate crisis, with a global compact the world can solve the poverty crisis."

The annual five-day meeting of 2,500 government, business and academic leaders in the Swiss Alps focused on the issues of poverty and climate change Thursday after the opening day was made somber by of growing terror and the lingering fears of economic malaise.

But losses fueled by the U.S. sub-prime crisis were bound to return, with the discussion returning to the implications of sovereign wealth funds moving in with new investments in hard-hit companies.

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