(dpa) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday urged the large industrial nations to abandon their defensive strategies in the face of climate change, in order to avoid "a catastrophe."
"We muct act," Sarkozy told delegates to the Major Economies Process on Energy and Climate Change (MEM) in Paris.
Sarkozy also called on emerging nations, such as China and India, to act in the face of global warming.
"You cannot want to have the rights of great economic powers that you are becoming and abstain from your responsibilities," the French president said. "A great power has both rights and responsibilities, and this point is not open to negotiation."
The MEM is a forum for political discussion grouping 16 countries that account for 80 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The aim of the Paris meeting was to prepare for the December 2009 Copenhagen conference.
Its ultimate goal is to prepare a successor agreement to the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012 and which US President George W Bush has criticized as "insufficient."