Crunch climate change talks kick off in Copenhagen - Climate Change - Environment - The Independent

Crunch climate change talks kick off in Copenhagen

A A A

Crunch UN talks on climate change kicked off in Copenhagen today, amid calls for a strong international agreement which delivers immediate action to tackle rising temperatures.

Thousands of officials, environmental campaigners, politicians and journalists are in the Danish capital for the bid to strike a political deal on curbing emissions and providing finance to support poor countries in the fight against climate change.



At the talk's opening ceremony the UN's chief climate official Yvo de Boer said the negotiations will only be a success if they deliver "significant and immediate action" on global warming.



And the chairman of the UN's expert Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, said as the evidence was "now overwhelming" the world needs to take early action on global warming.



He told the opening of the conference that the "global community has a moral and material responsibility" to limit the impacts of climate change on vulnerable countries who are most at risk of flooding, storms, droughts and rising sea levels brought on by increases in temperatures.



Connie Hedegaard, conference president and Denmark's former climate minister warned: "This is our chance. If we miss it, it could take years before we got a new and better one. If we ever do."



In the UK, the run up to the negotiations has been dogged by the leaking of stolen emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit which climate sceptics claim show evidence that researchers were manipulating data to support a theory of man-made global warming.



Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband has warned that those who argue climate change is not the result of human actions are "profoundly irresponsible".



"The overwhelming consensus of scientists across the world is that climate change is real and is man-made and is happening," he told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.



"The people who do somehow want to suggest that the science is in doubt are profoundly irresponsible."



Mr Miliband warned the next two weeks, during which the Copenhagen talks will be attended by more than 100 world leaders and representatives of 192 countries, were "crunch time for the planet".



He said the UK is pushing for the most ambitious, effective and fair deal possible and warned that if countries fail to take advantage of the current momentum to secure agreement on efforts to tackle rising temperatures, it would not get any easier to achieve at a later date.



Prime Minister Gordon Brown is talking by telephone today to Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd and Swiss president Hans-Rudolf Merz, and on Thursday to Chinese premier Wen Jiabao, as part of efforts to secure a strong deal.



The raft of offers of action from rich and developing countries that has materialised in the days running up to the conference, and the plans by more than 100 leaders - including US President Barack Obama - to come to the closing day of the talks has raised hopes of an agreement.



But there is still further to go before the pledges on curbing emissions will deliver the cuts in greenhouse gases scientists say are needed to keep temperatures rising by more than 2C.



And billions of pounds of finance has also to be agreed to help poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change and develop without increasing their pollution.



It it hoped the talks will deliver political agreement which can be turned into a legally binding treaty in the coming months.



Andy Atkins, executive director of Friends of the Earth, said: "As the Copenhagen talks kick off, the pressure is on rich nations to do what's fair and right for the planet and the billions of people that live on it.



"Rich countries must commit to legally-binding targets to slash their emissions, drop their support for a global carbon market and put new public money on the table for developing countries," he urged.



"The time for action is now - we need bold and decisive leadership from our leaders so that in two weeks we have a strong, fair agreement to tackle climate change."



The chief scientist for the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), professor Bob Watson said: "It is extremely critical in Copenhagen that we have a strong agreement of all major emitters to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.



"It is essential that governments agree how to reduce climate change by mitigating their emissions and vital we get an agreement on working together on how to adapt to climate change."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week