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Copenhagen report VIII Copenhagen report VIII
by Euro Reporter
2009-12-16 07:56:51
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Rich countries responsible for slow Copenhagen talks

China said Tuesday that the rich countries should be responsible for the sluggish progress of the Copenhagen climate talks as they "move backward" on such issues like technological and financial support for the developing countries. "The Copenhagen conference has now entered a crucial stage and made some progress, but some problems and differences still exist," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu at a regular news briefing.

"If the talks have encountered some difficulties and made slow progress, the main reason is that the developed countries have moved backward on the key issues of funding and technology," said Jiang. Jiang said the developed countries have tried to deny the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, abandon the Kyoto Protocol and deviate from the Bali Road Map; on the other hand, they put forward various unreasonable requirements for the developing ones.

"We think this has imposed impact on the progress of the talks and on the positive results the talks could achieve," Jiang said. The UN Climate Change Conference, which opened last Monday in Copenhagen, gathered representatives from 192 countries and aimed at mapping out a plan for combating climate change from 2012 to 2020. Ministers arrived in Copenhagen over the weekend to work for consensus on the texts at a higher level of the two-week talks. More than 100 heads of state and government are expected to be arriving later in the week for a climate summit to endorse efforts to fight global warming. "The key to the success of the Copenhagen talks is that the developed countries should demonstrate political sincerity, continue to commit themselves to mid-term quantitative targets of emission cut, provide the developing countries with funding and technological support," said Jiang.


Summit's Final Session Nearing

Negotiations at the Copenhagen summit are progressing too slowly, the UN's climate chief has warned. Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN's climate body, said there was still an "enormous amount of work" to be done before a final deal could be signed. Delegates are currently poring over the details of a new draft text, ahead of the start of the conference's high-level segment on Tuesday evening. On Friday, about 120 world leaders will attend the summit's final session.

"We are at a very distinct and important moment," he told reporters in Copenhagen, BBC News reports.  It was also reported, Yvo de Boer, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters both large and small countries will have to make concessions in the coming days because "there is still an enormous amount of ground to be covered if this conference is to deliver what people around the world expect it to deliver." The United States and other industrialized nations are still pressing for a way to verify that China, India and other emerging economies will make the greenhouse gas emissions cuts they've promised to make in the context of a new agreement, while developing countries argue these rich nations have not provided the financing and ambitious climate targets that would be commensurate with their historic responsibility for global warming.

Connie Hedegaard, the Danish chairman of the conference, said in an interview that monitoring and verifying future emissions cuts "is one of the very difficult issues because the major players both have serious red lines" on the issue. "One is waiting for the other [to move]. We must solve that problem," The Washington Post reports. News agencies also report, rich country carbon cuts will likely be legally binding. "The MRV issue is a very serious divider," said India's Ramesh. The issue "might not sound that sexy but its still a very crucial part because that is where there are red lines to different parties," said Hedegaard.

De Boer and Hedegaard were speaking at a press conference where a life buoy hung in front of them on the stage, sponsored by the development group Oxfam reading "1.5 million voices." An Oxfam spokeswoman said figure represented the 1.5 million people who participated in climate hearings run by the organization this year in 35 countries. She said the verdict of the hearings was: "Climate change kills. Act now, save life."


10 'flagship' species at risk named

A report released at the Copenhagen climate change conference by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed ten species likely to suffer huge losses due to global warming. According to a report in National Geographic News, although the ten species aren't those most at risk, IUCN selected them because they are well-researched 'flagship' species that are being affected by a spectrum of climate change impacts, from melting sea ice to beach erosion. Many of the animals featured in the new report already appear on IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species for other reasons, such as habitat destruction and overharvesting. This makes climate change an "additional and major threat," according to the report authors.

"Perhaps the most vulnerable species on the new list is the staghorn coral, which has been greatly weakened by bleaching," said Wendy Foden of IUCN's Species Programme. Bleaching occurs when warmer oceans cause corals to lose their symbiotic algae, leaving the blanched reefs to slowly perish. At the same time, coral declines mean that another of the report's threatened species, the clownfish, is suffering from lost habitat. Meanwhile, rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is causing eucalyptus plants in Australia to produce leaves with fewer nutritious proteins and more unpalatable tannins.

This means that koalas, which eat only eucalyptus, will have to consume even more to keep from starving. "We definitely didn't anticipate that one," Fodel said. "Like the polar bear, several of the report's species-- such as the arctic fox, emperor penguin, beluga whale, and ringed seal-- depend on polar snows and ice for their survival. No one knows what will happen to some these species when polar summer ice completely disappears-- which may occur in the Arctic by 2040, according to experts. The report's other at-risk species include the African quiver tree, under threat due to drought, and salmon, whose home streams may experience changes in flow rate due to earlier snow melt. Co-author Fodel emphasised that the species in the new report are not yet in dire straits: The ringed seal, for example, is still the most common seal in the Arctic. "They can adapt-- it's a question of whether climate change is slow enough for them to adapt," she said.

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