Leaders of the 53 Commonwealth nations have issued a statement throwing
their full support behind next month's climate change summit in Denmark.
The Commonwealth leaders issued the statement Saturday, the second day of a special summit in (the Caribbean nation of)Trinidad and Tobago.
In the statement, the Commonwealth nations -- many of them former
British colonies -- said any agreement should include a fund to provide
financing and support for developing nations to meet emissions
Speaking Friday at the Commonwealth summit, U.N. Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon said the goal of next month's climate talks will be to reach an
agreement on a legally binding treaty.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen and French President
Nicolas Sarkozy are also participating in the Commonwealth talks.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth, the head of the 60-year-old Commonwealth,
opened the conference Friday, saying the group has an opportunity to
lead the international response to the climate challenge. She said many
of the people most vulnerable to climate change live in countries that
make up the Commonwealth.
The conference is the last large gathering of world leaders before the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen.
The conference runs from December 7 to 18. It originally was intended
to produce a new global climate treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto
Protocol, which expires in 2012. But observers say it is more likely to
result in an outline of an agreement to be worked out next year.
Negotiations have been complicated by a rift between developed and
developing nations over how to share the burden of cutting carbon
U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to address the summit on the
third day, December 9, before going to Oslo to receive this year's
Nobel Peace Prize.