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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » December 16, 2009
POLITICS AND ENVIRONMENT
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Summit Seeks New Climate Deal
December 16, 2009 By W.Ż.    
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The 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen was expected to produce a new global agreement on counteracting climate change and on action that governments around the world need to take. But many countries, including coal-dependent Poland, may find cuts in greenhouse gas emissions hard to accept.

Over 100 world leaders took part in the ten-day conference that started Dec. 9. Before the talks began, preventing global temperature from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius was identified as the chief aim of the conference.

International efforts to fight global warming resulted in the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 in which 37 industrialized countries committed themselves to cutting their greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2005 and the conference in Copenhagen aimed to deliver an agreement on emission reductions to succeed the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

"Agreement is within reach," Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said as he opened the conference together with Maciej Nowicki, the Polish environment minister and the chairman of last year's UN Climate Change Conference in Poznań, western Poland. Nowicki said the participants of the Copenhagen conference were meeting to take a crucial step in response to the biggest threat facing humanity-global warming caused by emission of greenhouse gases. "Countries that emit the most CO2 and other greenhouse gases should come forward with concrete commitments to reduce the emissions," Nowicki said. "Developing countries, especially those least economically developed, should obtain financial, technological and organizational assistance to help them adapt to climate change and to foster rapid economic development."

Polish negotiators at the summit were headed by Tomasz Chruszczow, the director of the Department of Climate Change and Protection of the Atmosphere at the Ministry of the Environment. The head of Poland's expert group was Prof. Maciej Sadowski from the Institute of Environmental Protection.

"Poland is cautious about whether the EU can commit to reducing CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2020, because other countries are barely prepared to undertake a similar effort," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Dec. 10. "Climate protection only makes sense when it is accompanied by global solidarity. It is pointless for us to butcher our economy if others continue to emit as much CO2 as they have so far."

At an EU summit in October, Poland's Jerzy Buzek, the president of the European Parliament, called for a system under which richer countries, rather than the biggest polluters in terms of CO2 emissions, should pay the most to help poorer countries fight climate change.
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