Archive | Global Warming & Climate Change

Protests Inside, Outside Climate Summit

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 16 (UPI) — Police fired tear gas and arrested at least 200 people Wednesday as activists tried to storm the climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, officials said.

Groups of protesters tried to break through security lines outside of Bella Center as world leaders gathered for the final days of the two-week, U.N.-sponsored conference, The Times of London reported.

Witnesses reported police rushed the demonstrators, using pepper spray on the protesters. Police were waiting for Wednesday’s protests with dogs on leashes and a helicopter flying overhead. Law enforcement officials also reportedly worked undercover, infiltrating protest groups and making arrests, The Times said.

Inside the summit venue, about 100 non-government organization representatives staged a sit-in to protest accreditation delays and a decision by Danish officials to void credentials for Friends of the Earth delegates, the London newspaper said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, International Relations & Treaties, Policy, Law, & Government0 Comments

U.N. Climate Summit Produces Forest Saving Pact

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 16 (UPI) — Climate change negotiators meeting in Denmark moved closer to a pact that would pay countries for preserving forests and other landscapes, negotiators said.

If signed as anticipated, the agreement for the compensation program would provide a system by which countries could be paid for conserving ebbing natural assets based on their contribution to reducing emissions, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

Environmental groups at the U.N-sponsored summit in Copenhagen, Denmark said the pact could be the biggest accomplishment of the summit.

“It is likely to be the most concrete thing that comes out of Copenhagen — and it is a very big thing,” said Fred Krupp, head of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Environmental groups support such a program because forests absorb carbon dioxide, the primary gas linked to global warming. Rain forest destruction, which releases the tree-stored CO2, is estimated to make up about 20 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally.

A final draft of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation was to be presented Wednesday to summit participants, but likely won’t be announced until the end of the week when world leaders arrive, the Times said. Yet to be resolved are how to address the rights of indigenous people living on forest land and how a forest is defined.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Conservation, Effects Of Air Pollution, Global Warming & Climate Change, Nature & Ecosystems, Other, Trees & Forestry0 Comments

Time Running out for Key Climate Deal

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 15 (UPI) — Time is running out for an ambitious climate protection deal because of a gridlock between rich and poor nations at a crucial U.N. summit in Denmark.

The second week of negotiations is in full swing in Copenhagen, with weekend demonstrations and Monday negotiations turning ugly. A day after police clashed with protesters on the icy streets of Copenhagen, representatives from 123 developing countries walked out on negotiations Monday, prompting a five-hour suspension of the talks. Poor nations said they fear that developed economies are trying to water down their emissions reduction commitments by burying the existing global warming treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

This delayed the negotiations.

“Ministers have to be extremely busy and focused over the next 48 hours if we want to make this summit a success,” Connie Hedegaard, the Danish minister presiding over the summit, said Tuesday.

Danish and U.N. negotiators worked all night to bring the gridlocked parties together. Poor nations returned to the negotiations table only after they were promised separate talks on a continuation of Kyoto. However, developing countries remained suspicious Tuesday, observers said.

The row comes as time for a binding deal is running out: On Tuesday, the first heads of states arrived before the summit’s much-awaited climax later this week, when more than 110 world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, converge on the packed Bella Center to “seal the deal” by late Friday.

But until that happens, several issues have to be resolved — a big one is who should pay how much, and when, in climate change mitigation money to poor countries.

While members of the European Union and other countries pledged to hand short-term cash to poor nations hit hard by climate change, nothing much has been achieved on long-term aid, Hedegaard said.

Developing nations have asked for as much as $200 billion per year and disagree with rich nations on how to manage the funds.

“We need to come up with some innovative ideas,” to raise that money, she said. In an upbeat message, a senior Chinese official told the BBC that China would not need a “single dollar” of that money.

But the clock is ticking louder as time for a strong agreement is running out.

Hedegaard Monday and Tuesday urged environment ministers to take over from lower-level negotiators and resolve some of the toughest differences before the high-level segment starts Wednesday.

“We actually managed to get ministers down to work,” she said, adding they had done so “until deep into the night.”

The real negotiations take off over the next 48 hours, when Hedegaard will summon ministers again and again in informal negotiations.

“There’s a lot of work still ahead … and the parties’ positions are pretty far apart,” Todd Stern, U.S. special envoy for climate change, said Tuesday.

More than 100 world leaders are expected in Denmark this week to try to broker a climate-protection deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which runs out in 2012.

Officials hope the deal will include binding carbon dioxide emissions reduction commitments from the world’s major emitters — including the United States, India and China — as well as dozens of billions of dollars in financial aid to poor nations.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Ideas, Humanities, & Education, Other0 Comments

200 Protesters Arrested at U.N. Climate Change Summit

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 15 (UPI) — Protesters, angry over the lack of progress during a climate change summit, set fire to temporary barricades in Copenhagen, Denmark, police said.

Authorities said they used tear gas to disperse the crowd for the first time since the climate change summit began last week, The New York Times reported Tuesday. About 200 protesters were arrested.

Police said they expected clashes with protesters to escalate as the talks conclude this week.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was expected to arrive at the U.N.-sponsored summit Tuesday, two days ahead of schedule, to try to goose progress at the talks.

Early Tuesday, lines of government delegates and representatives of environmental organizations trying to get in to the conference stretched several hundred yards outside the conference facility, the Times reported. Thousands of participants endured hours-long waits to pick up credentials Monday.

The United Nations said in an e-mailed statement more than 45,000 people applied to attend the conference, nearly triple the facility’s capacity.

“An overwhelming number of those who applied arrived on Monday, causing congestion in the area outside the U.N. venue, which is under the control of the Danish police,” the statement said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Organizations, People0 Comments

Developing Nations End Copenhagen Boycott

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 14 (UPI) — Negotiations at the U.N. climate change summit resumed Monday in Copenhagen, Denmark, after developing nations returned from a boycott, observers said.

The summit was suspended briefly after G77-China bloc, made up of 130 nations, staged a walkout over what it called a violation of the democratic process by the Danish hosts, but the summit resumed Monday afternoon after delegates from the bloc returned, the BBC reported.

The walkout, however, added to a sense of gloom at the summit, the broadcaster said, describing some delegates as “forlorn” and speaking of much negotiating that still needed to be done.

Developing countries have accused advanced nations of ignoring their concerns at Copenhagen, especially their demands that the Kyoto Protocol — the only international legally binding instrument that has curbed carbon emissions — be extended along with its development money for investment in clean energy projects, the BBC said.

“It has become clear that the Danish presidency — in the most undemocratic fashion — is advancing the interests of the developed countries at the expense of the balance of obligations between developed and developing countries,” G77-China chief negotiator Lumumba Di-Aping told the British broadcaster.

Meanwhile U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu was to unveil an international plan to deploy clean technology in developing countries, White House administrators said.

The $350 million, five-year, broad-based Climate Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative includes measures such as installing solar lanterns in poor households to promoting advanced energy-efficient appliances, The Washington Post reported.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Science, Space, & Technology, Solar0 Comments

Protests Continue at U.N. Climate Summit After Arrests

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 13 (UPI) — Scattered protests took place Sunday in Copenhagen, Denmark, a day after police arrested nearly 1,000 arrests during the climate change summit, police said.

Police said nearly 230 people were arrested during Sunday’s protests, with the majority of the targeted protesters taking part in an illegal protest in the northern part of the Danish capital, The New York Times reported.

Sunday’s arrests paled in comparison to those made on Saturday as tens of thousands of protesters gathered to call for action on climate change. Police estimate between 60,000 and 100,000 individuals took part in Saturday’s protest.

Police coordinator Per Larsen said in addition to Sunday’s scattered protests, four cars were set on fire and a police officer was hit in the face with a rock.

“We saved the demonstration from being disturbed totally,” Larsen told the Times. “There were some hard-core protesters that we have neutralized.”

Meanwhile, at least one activist alleges those protesters arrested Saturday were denied medical attention, water and toilets.

“People were there in freezing conditions urinating on themselves and being held in lines like, essentially like animals,” Mel Evans of Climate Justice Action told the BBC.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Cars, Global Warming & Climate Change, Justice0 Comments

Thousands March Through Copenhagen Urging Climate Action

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 12 (UPI) — Thousands of marchers swarmed central Copenhagen Saturday, urging action on global warming, and police and radicals clashed in elsewhere in the Danish city.

A crowd estimated at 60,000 to 100,000 people from around the world participated in the main demonstration, The New York Times reported. They walked from Christiansborg Slotsplads or Castle Square toward the Bella Center, the convention hall where delegates from nearly 200 countries are gathered to forge an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Marchers carried flags and banners demanding action from world leaders to stop global warming. One read “Bla, Bla, Bla. Act Now!”

“My words cannot replace action,” Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the leader of the Danish Social Democratic Party. “We are here to show leaders that what is made by man, can be changed by man.”

A police spokeswoman said there was scattered violence, with radical protesters breaking windows, throwing rocks and setting at least four cars on fire. At least one officer was struck in the face by a rock and police made about 950 arrests, the Times reported.

“We saved the demonstration from being disturbed totally,” Per Larsen, chief coordinator for the Danish police, said. “There were some hard-core protesters that we have neutralized.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Cars, Global Warming & Climate Change, People0 Comments

Himalayas Threatened by Climate Change & Extreme Weather

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 12 (UPI) — Extreme weather events caused by climate change are threatening hundreds of millions of people living in the Himalayan region, the United Nations said.

Droughts and catastrophic floods are destroying crops, depleting water supplies and killing livestock throughout the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, said the report released Friday.

Researchers spread throughout China, Pakistan, India and Nepal to collect data for the report, released at the start of the summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, called to negotiate a new global climate treaty.

The report is proof some societies already are enduring climate change, U.N. spokesman Achim Steiner said.

“Adaptation here is not just a necessity but a question of local communities’ very survival,” Steiner said, calling on governments to do more than boost strategies for disaster management.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, People0 Comments

Climate Change Activists Rally in Copenhagen's Public Squares

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 12 (UPI) — A public square in Copenhagen, Denmark, was jammed Saturday with thousands of protesters gathered at a U.N. climate change conference, witnesses said.

Police said they expected 60,000 people to march from Copenhagen’s Christiansborg Slotsplads, or Castle Square, toward the Bella Center, the convention hall were delegates from nearly 200 countries are gathered to forge an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper said the demonstrators included climate activists, hundreds of environmental groups, anti-capitalists and human rights advocates who formed a sea of humanity dotted with flags and banners demanding action from world leaders to stop global warming.

“Bla, Bla, Bla,” the Times cited a popular sign as reading. “Act Now!”

Another reportedly read, “Nature Doesn’t Compromise.”

The “Global Day of Action” came one day after Danish police clashed with demonstrators, making 40 arrests, the BBC reported.

The British broadcaster said former supermodel Helena Christensen and actress Helen Baxendale were expected to be among the celebrities making appearances Saturday, while the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was to address a gathering of Christian Aid and other faith-based development organizations in Copenhagen’s Cathedral Square.

A part of the effort calls for churches around the world to toll their bells 350 times, symbolizing 350 parts per million — the level of carbon dioxide considered low enough to avoid climate change, the BBC said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Global Warming & Climate Change, Organizations, Other, People0 Comments

Republicans Say Obama's Climate Change Efforts to Cost Jobs

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 (UPI) — Efforts backed by U.S President Barack Obama to stop global warming would wipe out millions of American jobs if enacted, a Republican Party spokeswoman says.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., warned listeners to the GOP’s weekly radio address that complying with plans to cut carbon emissions put forward by world leaders at the U.N. climate change conference this week in Copenhagen, Denmark, “would destroy millions of American jobs and damage our economic competitiveness for decades to come.”

Blackburn asserted that to comply with a Copenhagen agreement, “Washington Democrats” want to enact a “national energy tax, a bureaucratic nightmare that would make households, small businesses and family farms pay higher prices for electricity, gasoline, food and virtually every product made in America.”

Blasting the “cap-and-trade” greenhouse gas emission legislation that has passed the House and stalled in the Senate, Blackburn said Obama has “piled more regulation on the backs of families and small businesses in the name of combating global warming,” referring to a move by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determining that carbon dioxide emissions endanger human health and must be regulated.

“My bill, H.R. 391, would stop the EPA,” Blackburn said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Electricity, Energy, Global Warming & Climate Change1 Comment

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