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Kofi Annan calls on wine trade to tackle climate change

Published:  14 April, 2011

Former UN secretary general Kofi Annan praised the efforts made by the wine industry in combating climate change, but called on the trade to innovate and invest in new technology.

Annan, speaking last night to 800 visitors at Marbella's Climate Change and Wine Conference hosted by the Wine Academy of Spain, said, "some may find it odd to be talking about the wine industry and climate change, despite the effects it is having on every part of our lives".

He said that grapes were a particularly vulnerable crop to the effects of climate change, adding that the conference showed the wine industry was worried about the "effects climate change can have on crops, production and costs".

"Far from being limited to the environment, climate change is a global and all-encompassing threat," added Annan.

"It has the potential to cause billion dollar weather disasters, natural disasters and the destruction of ecosystems - woods and water systems are already disappearing."

He also said the changing climate was a "threat to peace" as areas were being destabilised by fighting for resources.

He called on the private sector to take the initiative in acting to mitigate climate change: "We cannot leave it to governments and multi-lateral organisations to take the lead."

The Wine Academy of Spain reported that 270 delegates from 40 countries were in attendance, as well as representatives from 168 wineries. Around 12,000 people tuned in to a web link to watch organiser Pancho Campo MW, hosting an interactive tasting at the conference.