Reuters | Mon Dec 7, 2009 | 6:12pm IST
The biggest climate talks in history opened on Monday with a stark U.N. warning of the risk of desertification and rising seas and an assurance by hosts Denmark that a deal to combat climate change was “within reach”. Politicians and scientists urged the Dec. 7-18 talks, attended by 15,000 delegates from about 190 nations, to agree immediate action to curb greenhouse gases and come up with billions of dollars in aid and technology to help the poor. Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said 110 world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, were signed up to attend a summit at the end of the Dec. 7-18 meeting. “A deal is within our reach,” Rasmussen said. But the talks will have to overcome deep distrust between rich and poor nations on sharing out the burden of curbing emissions, mainly from burning fossil fuels. The presence of so many world leaders meant “an opportunity the world cannot afford to miss,” he said of the talks, aimed at agreeing a pact to replace the existing U.N. Kyoto Protocol that runs to 2012. “The clock has ticked down to zero. After two years of negotiations the time has come to deliver,” said Yvo de Boer, the head of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat.
Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists, said action was needed to avoid more intense cyclones, heatwaves, floods and possible loss of the Greenland ice sheet, which could mean a sea level rise of 7 metres over centuries. He said that even a widely accepted goal of limiting global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times could still bring an increase in sea levels that Continue reading
Xinhuanet | 2009-12-07 | 00:39:41
The UN’s top climate change official on Sunday outlined actions for governments to agree to during the Copenhagen climate change conference that opens here Monday, saying negotiators now have the clearest signal ever from world leaders to craft solid proposals to implement rapid action. “Over the next two weeks, governments have to deliver a strong and long-term response to the challenge of climate change,” Yvo deBoer, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told a press conference one day ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference.
The UNFCCC is the first international treaty to call for controls on greenhouse gases and serves as a basic framework for the international community to cooperate on climate change. De Boer spoke of three layers of action that governments must agree to at the conference:
- fast and effective implementation of immediate action on climate change;
- ambitious commitments to cut and limit emissions, including start-up funding and a long-term funding commitment; and
- a long-term shared vision on a low-emissions future for all. Continue reading
Xinhuanet | 2009-12-09 | 18:09:13
Government officials, representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGO) and journalists overcrowded a UN climate change conference which kicked off on Monday. The Danish government had expected 15,000 participants for the event, a key meeting that would pave the way for an international agreement on further reduction of green-house gas emissions after the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012. But more than double that number, 34,000 people on Sunday asked to physically attend the meeting, forcing the organizer to issue a media alert and apply limits on the number of journalists and NGO representatives allowed to enter since the maximum capacity of the Bella Center, the venue of the conference, is 15,000.
“Due to these constraints, NGO delegates will be allowed access to the building according to a quota system,” according to which only a prearranged percentage of each organization’s representatives can get inside during peak times, the conference’s secretariat and the Danish government said in a joint statement. “Also due to the space constraints, a maximum of 3,500 journalists will be allowed access to the Bella Center at this point in time,” they said. For fear that even more people will come for the official opening ceremony on Monday morning, the organizer simply barred media and NGO representatives who arrive late from picking up their badges to enter. “No exceptions will be made,” they said. Continue reading
Bloomberg November 25, 2009 19:00 EST
President Barack Obama will travel to Copenhagen for climate-change talks, where he’ll offer to cut U.S. emissions about 17 percent by 2020 in an effort to help break a deadlock between rich and poor nations. Obama will visit the Danish capital on Dec. 9 during negotiations on a global climate treaty. The U.S. will propose cutting its emissions “in the range of 17 percent” from 2005 levels by 2020, Carol Browner, Obama’s top adviser on energy and the environment, told reporters yesterday. It will be the first time the U.S. has offered such a target. U.S. legislation backed by Obama to cut greenhouse gases and establish a market for the trading of pollution allowances passed the House in June and then stalled in the Senate. Administration officials said they aren’t going to Denmark empty-handed and Obama’s attendance will send a strong signal.
“The president going to Copenhagen will give positive momentum to the negotiations,” Michael Froman, Obama’s deputy national security adviser for international economics, told reporters yesterday. “We think it will enhance the prospects for success.” Negotiations for a new global climate treaty have been stymied as industrialized nations and developing countries failed to agree on issues such as emissions-reduction targets and how much financial help rich nations should provide Continue reading