14 Dec, 2009

Environment ministers at UN climate conference

As the UN climate conference in Copenhagen enters its second week, environment ministers are set to hold a series of closed-door meetings in a bid to iron out a draft agreement to combat global warming. The first week of the climate conference in the Danish capital produced little tangible results, but on Monday China raised hopes that consensus may be achieved after it softened its stance towards developed nations. Delegations were angry at what they saw as moves by the Danish host government to sideline talks on more emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol. The countries that have suspended co-operation are those which make up the G77-China bloc of 130 nations. These range from wealthy countries such as South Korea, to some of the poorest states in the world. China, which has said it plans to curb 2020 emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40-45 percent from 2005 levels, had initially demanded that developed countries contribute funds for its own climate efforts. But the EU and the developed world in general has promoted the idea of an entirely new agreement, replacing the protocol. At a news conference earlier in the day, UK Climate Secretary Ed Miliband said that for the developed world to commit to further cuts under the Kyoto Protocol would be “irresponsible for the climate”. He said it would leave some of the world’s biggest emitters without targets for cutting emissions. Meanwhile, at a vigil outside the city hall, Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu handed over a petition signed by half a million people to the head of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Yvo de Boer, calling for dramatic action to roll back the threat posed by greenhouse gases. “This is a problem. If we don’t resolve it, no-one is going to survive,” Tutu told a crowd of more than a thousand. Meanwhile, the informal meeting of environment ministers under the chairmanship of former Danish minister Connie Hedegaard, was tasked with turning a problem-ridden blueprint into a landmark deal on climate change that can be endorsed at the end of the conference on Friday by about 120 world leaders. credit: bbc/reuters/apt/dpa

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