COP15: Demands for swift action on climate change on Day 1

8 December 2009: In the largest gathering of global leaders and analysts to discuss and combat climate change, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen inaugurated the event with a call for the summit to grasp the future, saying at the opening ceremony that sustainability is “within reach” for the planet, but efforts are needed in order to make it a reality. He said that the summit offers the rare opportunity for global partners to come under one umbrella and face the facts of climate change in order to reverse the continuing decline of the world’s environment.

It’s all big claims and hope as day two begins. “The world is depositing hope with you for a short while in the history of mankind,” Rasmussen told delegates, who are attempting to formulate the first United Nations agreement on climate change in 12 years.


“By the end, we must be able to deliver back to the world what was granted us here today: hope for a better future. The time for formal statements is over … Copenhagen will only be a success if it delivers significant and immediate action,” he said in his opening comments.


Despite his obvious optimism, many are still skeptical that Copenhagen will be a success. Even though global leaders, such as American President Barack Obama are making the trek to the cold Danish capital, scientists are worried that it will be too little.


As always, money is a major factor. Kandeh Yumkellah, director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) told reporters on the sidelines that nations must not simply throw money at the developing world in order to take the realities of the urgency needed from the situation. The official said that these resources should not remove resources from other issues in the developing world.


“Before we put all our efforts into climate change, poor countries were faced with a list of other problems,” said Yumkella.


Asked what position UNIDO would take at the climate talks, Yumkella said, “we don’t want climate change to cannibalise other development financing.


“To deal with the climate change problem, developing countries are looking for fresh money.”


The Copenhagen Summit ends on December 18 with a meeting of 105 world leaders as they attempt to create unity among a divided world, where many developing countries argue the wealthier nations are demanding too much from the lower tier countries.


In Egypt, the environment ministry has already said it expects the summit to end in failure as “the rich nations are unwilling to accept their responsibility in climate change” and are demanding “too much of smaller nations who have done little to put the world in the position it is in currently.”

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