Tough climate deal urged in Poznan

The United Nations climate talks' opening ceremonies on Monday in Poznan, Poland were filled with pleas for immediate action to fight global warming in spite of the worldwide economic downturn. Participants stressed the urgency of solving the climate issue to prevent problems such as water shortages for half the world by 2050 and the melting of the Greenland icecap.


"Our work on the natural environment should be timeless … irrespective of the economic situation," Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, said. "We must understand, and let this idea be a landmark of this conference, that financial crises have happened in the past and will happen in the future," he said.


" The talks in the western Polish city of Poznan with 10,600 delegates from 186 nations from December 1 to 12 are the half-way point in a two-year effort to agree on a climate deal at the end of 2009. This deal is meant to succeed the Kyoto Protocol – the treaty that sets the 2012 goals for 37 rich nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.


Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the UN Climate Panel, said that many people had still not fully realised the "irreversible change" to the climate if the world failed to act. For example, he said the number of people living in river valleys with water stress could increase from more than 1.1 billion in 1995 to more than 4.3 billion in 2050, or "almost the majority of humanity". It was also possible that the Greenland icecap could melt down, he said.


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