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Climate's towering agenda in Barcelona

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Climate's towering agenda in Barcelona


A ‘Save the climate’ banner by Greenpeace towered above the spires of Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia church… At a nearby convention centre, preparations were under way on a draft agreement for the UN conference next month in Copenhagen.

Greenpeace USA Global Warming Campaign Director Damon Moglen criticised efforts in Washington as weak: “The US, as the world’s largest historic polluter, has a very special responsibility in these talks. Right now the legislation pending in the Congress is not strong enough to address climate change. The president needs to step in and personally direct US negotiators to reach an agreement here.” The UN’s top climate official himself has spoken publically about some parties’ funding credibility. He said developing countries do not trust rich countries’ promises of help to meet climate change challenges. Last week the 27-member European Union agreed to finance between 22 and 50 billion euros of an estimated 100 billion euro per year support programme for poor countries, the figure to be refined depending on others’ contributions. The legal force of any deal replacing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming is a hot debate. United Nations Climate Chief Yvo de Boer said: “Copenhagen is a step on a journey. And there will be more negotiation after Copenhagen, even if it’s 200 percent successful.” A UN panel of scientists says industrial powers need to reduce harmful emissions by 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 to keep the Earth from badly overheating. The calculated combined commitments so far would mean a reduction of around 15 percent.

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