Call for action as key UN climate change summit opens

2009-12-07 09:20

Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen was to kick-start a

mammoth UN conference in Copenhagen today aimed at halting global


The conference’s opening ceremony was preceded by a joint leader

article, published by 56 newspapers in 45 countries, calling on world leaders to

place “decisive action” ahead of mutual recrimination.

Without action, “climate change will ravage our planet, and, with

it, our prosperity and security,” the article said, citing record warm years,

the melting Arctic ice cap “and last year’s inflamed oil and food prices.”

The article was drafted by a team from London’s The Guardian

newspaper during more than a month of consultations with editors from more than

20 of the papers involved. It was carried by leading English, Chinese, Arabic,

French and Russian newspapers - including Le Monde in France, the Toronto Star,

the Botswana Guardian and The Miami Herald.

“We call on the representatives of the 192 countries gathered in

Copenhagen not to hesitate, not to fall into dispute, not to blame each other

but to seize opportunity from the greatest modern failure of politics,” the

article said.

“If we, with such different national and political perspectives,

can agree on what must be done then surely our leaders can too,” the

commentators wrote.

The conference has received a major boost with the planned arrival

of US President Barack Obama for the final day of the conference. However, the

newspaper editorialists noted that “even now the world finds itself at the mercy

of American domestic politics, for the president cannot fully commit to the

action required until the US Congress has done so.”

The 12-day conference in the Danish capital aims to keep global

warming in check through huge emission cuts by the world’s richest nations and

massive aid to the world’s poorest.

It has been described by organizers as “the biggest show on earth


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