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.