UN Climate Conference opens

2009-12-07 14:03
Mohamad Shinaz, a Maldives climate activist holds a sign reading "Act Now Save Lives" as he is submerged in water in a 3 meter perspex tube outside the Bella Centre on the opening day of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. (AFP)

Mohamad Shinaz, a Maldives climate activist holds a sign reading "Act Now Save Lives" as he is submerged in water in a 3 meter perspex tube outside the Bella Centre on the opening day of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Copenhagen - The largest and most important UN climate change conference in history opened Monday, with diplomats from 192 nations warned that this could be the best, last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming.

The conference, the climax of two years of contentious negotiations, convened in an upbeat mood after a series of promises by rich and emerging economies to curb their greenhouse gases, but with major issues yet to be resolved.

Conference president Connie Hedegaard said the key to an agreement is finding a way to raise and channel public and private financing to poor countries for years to come to help them fight the effects of climate change.

Hedegaard - Denmark's former climate minister - said if governments miss their chance at the Copenhagen summit, a better opportunity may never come.

"This is our chance. If we miss it, it could take years before we got a new and better one. If ever," she said in prepared remarks.

Flooding of coastal cities

Denmark's prime minister said 110 heads of state and government will attend the final days of the two-week conference. President Barack Obama's decision to attend the end of the conference, not the middle, was taken as a signal that an agreement was getting closer.

At stake is a deal that aims to wean the world away from fossil fuels and other pollutants to greener sources of energy, and to transfer hundreds of billions of dollars from rich to poor countries every year over decades to help them adapt to climate change.

Scientists say without such an agreement, the Earth will face the consequences of ever-rising temperatures, leading to the extinction of plant and animal species, the flooding of coastal cities - about half of humanity lives with 160km of a coastline - more extreme weather events, drought and the spread of diseases.

Negotiations have dragged on for two years, only recently showing signs of breakthroughs with new commitments from The United States, China and India to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The first week of the conference will be focused on refining a complex text of a draft treaty. But major decisions will await the arrival next week of environment ministers and the heads of state in the final days of the conference, which is due to end on December 18.

Climate change strategies

Among those decisions is a proposed fund of $10bn each year for the next three years for poor countries prepare climate change strategies. After that, hundreds of billions of dollars will be needed every year to set the world on a new energy path and adapt to new climates.

"The deal, that we invite leaders to sign up on, will be one that affects all aspects of society just as the changing climate does," said Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen.

"Negotiators cannot do this alone, nor can politicians. The ultimate responsibility rests with the citizens of the world, who will ultimately bear the fatal consequences, if we fail to act."

A study released by the UN Environment Program Sunday indicated that pledges by industrial countries and major emerging nations fall just short of the reductions of greenhouse gas emissions that scientists have said are needed.

Environmentalists have warned that emissions commitments were dangerously short of what UN scientists have said were needed to keep average temperatures from rising more than 2°C.

Read more on:    connie hedegaard  |  copenhagen  |  climate change  |  cop15
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Five wrapping hacks you have to know before Christmas

Five gift wrapping hacks that will save Christmas for you!

 
 

I love summer.24

Sexiest Instagrams of 2014
Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!
Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off the bestselling books

Save big on the most captivating reads of 2014. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

The energy today is serious, materialistic and hardworking. You may find you get a new outlook on things and you may want to spend...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.