Two Week Long U.N. Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen Opens

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 7 (UPI) — Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen called the U.N.-sponsored climate change summit in Copenhagen a chance the world must seize.

Opening the two-week conference Monday in the Danish capital, Rasmussen described the summit as an “opportunity the world cannot afford to miss” and that a “strong and ambitious climate change agreement was needed,” the BBC reported.

About 100 leaders from 193 countries are to attend the meeting, which is intended pass a successor to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gases worldwide.

The venue, Copenhagen’s Bella Center, already is on security alert, several media outlets reported. A bomb scare Sunday forced police to shut down the venue.

Relations between winners and losers of a low-carbon energy future are tense because of overarching issues such as how deeply nations will cut their emissions and how much cash wealthier countries will spend to help poorer countries address climate change, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“One of the reasons that this negotiation is difficult is it really does involve issues of competitive and comparative advantage between countries,” said Nick Main, global managing partner for climate change and sustainability at the consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. “I don’t think there will be any science debate of any substance. This is really an economic debate of, ‘How do you pay the costs?’”

Debate on climate change itself intensified recently after hackers released thousands of e-mails between climate scientists that skeptics say undermine evidence that climate change was human-caused.

However, world leaders have reached a consensus on several fundamental topics, the Times reported. With few exceptions, negotiators in Copenhagen agree Earth is warming. humans largely are responsible, and current trends in greenhouse gas emissions will result in flooding, drought and death in many parts of the world.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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