Delegates from hundreds of governments, green groups and businesses worldwide are in Canada to debate how to deal with climate change after Kyoto. The UN protocol on cutting greenhouse gases runs out in 2012, and a new agreement is needed.
Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay, who is hosting the event, told the audience they had to make a difference.
“Today our responsibility is a tremendous one. The countries that have sent us to this conference know that we’re working for future generations. Our duty is to achieve results.”
It is argued the effects of pollution are already being felt with a rise in global temperatures over the past decade.
Kyoto’s problem is its quotas and how they were applied – developing countries like China and India are exempted, while the US and Australia have opted out, arguing it stifles economic growth.
Washington argues caps on emissions are not the right approach, advocating investment in new technologies like hydrogen fuel.