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Dalai Lama says climate change needs global action

by Michael Perry, Reuters, Nov 30, 2009

SYDNEY, Australia -- Tibet's exiled Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama entered the climate change debate on Monday, urging governments to take serious action and put global interests ahead of domestic concerns.

Australia's government is struggling to have its key climate change policy, a carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS), passed by a hostile upper house Senate this week ahead of U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen from December 7-18.

In Sydney for a series of talks, the Dalai Lama called for individual and collective action to tackle climate change.

"In my own case I never use bathtub, only shower. Whenever I leave my room I always put off my light," the Dalai Lama told a news conference.

"Taking care of the environment ... (is now) part of my life. Taking care of the environment should be part of our daily life."

Some Australian politicians skeptical about the causes of climate change have dumped a deal to back the government's carbon trade scheme.

If defeated in parliament for a second time this week, the deal could allow Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to call an early election in 2010 on the issue of climate change.

The skeptical climate change views of some Australians are being echoed in other countries, like the United States, as they seek to reach agreement on climate policy ahead of Copenhagen.

The Dalai Lama urged governments to act in the global interest in dealing with climate change.

"The elected government, sometimes their number one ... priority is national interest, national economy interest, then global issues are sometimes secondary," said the Dalai Lama.

"That, I think, should change. The global issue should be number one. In some cases in order to protect global issues, some sacrifice of national interest (is needed)."



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