A landmark 192-nation climate conference has opened in Copenhagen with
calls for urgent action in drawing up a battle plan to fight global
Over the next 12 days, delegates to the U.N. Framework Convention on
Climate Change will negotiate to reduce carbon gas emissions and build
a mechanism to fund anti-pollution measures in poor countries.
In Copenhagen, conference host and Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke
Rasmussen told delegates momentum was building for a global pact to
replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. He said more than
100 world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, will join the
conference late next week.
The head of the U.N. panel of climate scientists, Rajendra Pachaurai,
said international action is needed to reduce instances of cyclones,
heatwaves, and coastal flooding and drought.
United Nations climate chief Yvo de Boer, in an opening address, said
the "time has come to deliver," after two years of talks on replacing
the Kyoto Protocol.
Pre-summit negotiations have highlighted a rift between rich nations
and developing economies over the size of emission cuts and how much
aid should be provided to poor countries.
In calling for deeper cuts by rich countries, developing nations argue
that they are the most vulnerable to global warming, yet the least
responsible for the atmospheric carbon buildup that causes it.
Scientists say global carbon gas emissions must be reduced by 25 to 40
percent from 1990 levels in the next decade to control rising
temperatures. The European Union has pledged 20 percent cuts, more if
other nations agree.
China has proposed a complex plan for reducing its emissions from 2005 levels, while India has offered a 20 to 25 percent cut.
U.S. President Barack Obama, who is awaiting congressional action
regulating carbon emissions, has made a provisional offer for a 17
percent reduction from 2005 levels.