Twelve days of talks to change the world are underway in Poland, as governments and environmentalists tackle global warming. Overshadowed by the world’s financial worries, the UN conference wants progress on a new climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol by the end of next year.
“I am asking you to bear in mind the great importance of our joint work for all humankind,” said Maciej Nowicki, Poland’s Environment Minister.
“Do not let particular interests obscure the ultimate objective, which is the need to change the present direction taken by humanity.”
UN chiefs said the economic slowdown is a chance to re-design world finances, but warned states against making cheap and dirty energy investments in high-polluting fossil fuel power plants. They reserved special praise, though, for President-elect Barack Obama’s pledge to cut US emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.