UN summit on climate change begins

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The United Nations summit on climate change in Copenhagen has now began. The much-anticipated event will see delegates from a total of 192 countries involved in what scientists are calling “the most important conference the world has ever seen,” reports the BBC.

Over the following two weeks, approximately 100 leaders are to attend the conference to discuss the future of the world’s energy standpoint and to thrash out all climate change issues from a global perspective.

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UN climate negotiator Yvo de Boer said, “Never in 17 years of climate negotiations have so many different countries made so many pledges.” 

Environmental activists have already planned protests in Copenhagen and around the world on 12 December to encourage delegates to reach the strongest possible deal.

Speakers at the opening session will include Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s panel of climate experts. World leaders who have pledged to attend the summit include US President Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The main areas for discussion include:

  • Targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions, in particular by developed countries
  • Financial support for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change by developing countries
  • A carbon trading scheme aimed at ending the destruction of the world’s forests by 2030

Any agreement made at Copenhagen is intended to supplant the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Targets set at Kyoto run out in 2012.

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