The world’s biggest ever climate talks begin today in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. Thousands of participants and observers are all hoping over the next two weeks to reach a deal to combat global warming.
Although initial expectations have been scaled back – a legally binding treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol is not likely – the 105 world leaders who have said they are coming are pushing for at least a political declaration. Whatever eventually emerges Yvo de Boer who is the UN’s Climate chief is sure it will not be failure. “I don’t think it’s going to fail,” said de Boer. “I mean, if I look at the number of people who’ve committed to come here to make sure that it’s a success, the announcements of financial support that we have received, the targets that have been announced, the developing country engagement that we’re seeing, I don’t think it’s going to fail.” While the talks may pose the greatest ever security challenge to Denmark, for lobby groups it is more of a chance to get their particular view points across. A majority of scientists say the world is heating up because of greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. With global temperatures expected to go up by 3.5 degrees by the century’s end, delegates are likely to set a target, allowing temperatures to rise by no more than two degrees. That objective has been described by some activists as a good start but others want to see concrete financial plans and details of support to be given to help poorer nations adapt. In other words, the objective is nothing if it is not backed up by action.