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COPENHAGEN IN BRIEF
192 countries attending talks, including about 100 heads of state
To discuss emissions cuts and financial measures to combat climate
Danish PM urges delegates to deliver "hope for the future"
South Africa is the latest country to make emissions offer
Due to end 18 December
|Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke
Rasmussen has described the UN climate summit in Copenhagen as an
"opportunity the world cannot afford to miss".
Opening the two-week conference in the Danish capital, he told
delegates from 192 countries a "strong and ambitious climate change
agreement" was needed.
About 100 leaders are to attend the meeting, which is intended to
supplant the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
The UN says an unprecedented number of countries have promised
Mr Rasmussen told delegates that the world was looking to the
conference to safeguard humanity.
"For the next two weeks," he said, "Copenhagen will be Hopenhagen.
By the end, we must be able to deliver back to the world what was
granted us here today: hope for a better future."
Later, Rajendra Pachauri, who heads the UN's Intergovernmental Panel
on Climate Change (IPCC), criticised the "climategate" affair - the
recent publication of e-mails among scientists assessing global
warming at Britain's University of East Anglia.
He said the breaches showed "that some would go to the extent of
carrying out illegal acts, perhaps in an attempt to discredit the
Saudi climate negotiator Mohammad Al-Sabban, who has been resisting
emissions curbs, told the conference that trust in climate science
had been "shaken" by the leaked e-mails.
On Sunday, UN climate convention head Yvo de Boer expressed optimism
about cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
"Never in 17 years of climate negotiations have so many different
countries made so many pledges," he told the BBC.
Mr de Boer said offers of finance for clean technology for poor
countries were also coming through and that talks were progressing
on a long-term vision of massive cuts by 2050.
On Monday, South Africa became the latest country to make an offer -
saying it would cut by one-third the growth of its carbon emissions
over the next decade, subject to getting more funding and help from
In July, the G8 bloc of industrialised countries and some major
developing countries adopted a target of keeping the global average
temperature rise since pre-industrial times to 2C.
However now the G77/China bloc - which speaks on behalf of
developing countries - is discussing whether to demand a much
tougher target of 1.5C
A number of African delegations are backing the argument made by
small island states that 2C will bring major impacts to their
BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says this would raise a
huge obstacle, because none of the industrialised countries have put
forward emission cuts in the range that would be required to meet a
The African Union has threatened to walk out of the talks if
industrialised countries do not agree to help poor ones pay for the
transition to cleaner economies.
Meanwhile, a new poll commissioned by the BBC suggests that public
concern over climate change is growing across the world.
In the survey, by Globescan, 64% of people questioned said that they
considered global warming a very serious problem - up 20% from a
To stress the importance of the summit, 56 newspapers in 45
countries are publishing the same editorial on Monday, warning that
climate change will "ravage our planet" unless action is agreed, the
London-based Guardian reported.
The editorial - to be published in 20 languages - has been thrashed
out by editors ahead of the Copenhagen talks, the newspaper said.
"At the deal's heart must be a settlement between the rich world and
the developing world," the editorial says.
Environmental activists are planning to hold protests in Copenhagen
and around the world on 12 December to encourage delegates to reach
the strongest possible deal.
Any agreement made at Copenhagen is intended to supplant the 1997
Kyoto Protocol on climate change, which expires in 2012.
World leaders who have pledged to attend 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
* 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
Outlining his ambitions for the summit, Mr
de Boer said: "I think what we will see coming out of Copenhagen is
a package of decisions that define a long-term goal.
"Then, first of all, what will rich countries do to reduce their
emissions. Secondly, what will major developing countries do to
limit the growth of their emissions and thirdly prompt finance that
will allow developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate