This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
Copenhagen, Denmark, the United Nations Climate Change Conference opened this
week. Around fifteen thousand delegates and observers from nearly two hundred
countries are there. Some call it "the last best chance" for an
agreement to fight climate change.
de Boer is the top climate official at the United Nations.
YVO DE BOER: "The time for formal statements is
over. The time for restating well known positions is past. The time has come to
reach out to each other. I urge you to build on your achievements, take up the
work that has already been done and turn it into real action."
there are questions about how much can be done, and how an agreement would be
put into action.
The twelve-day conference ends next Friday. Late next
week, leaders from more than one hundred countries are expected at the talks,
including President Obama.
hope to set new targets to reduce greenhouse gases -- the pollution blamed for trapping
extra heat in the atmosphere. An existing agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, ends
in two thousand twelve. Many countries have offered new proposals for cuts,
including the United States and China.
China is now the leading producer of
greenhouse gases. But the United States and other industrialized nations were
the top polluters for years. So they are under extra pressure to reduce
emissions from cars, factories and other sources.
Washington, the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday declared carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases a threat to public health. That clears the
way for the administration to set limits, unless Congress acts first.
developing countries are also being urged to do more. And they, in turn, want
help. They criticized a proposal for industrialized nations to pay developing
countries ten billion dollars a year over three years. The World Bank says dealing
with climate change will require hundreds of billions a year in public and
New York, the United Nations secretary-general reacted to a dispute over
e-mails stolen from the University of East Anglia in England. Critics say the
messages show climate change scientists discussing ways to discredit other
theories about global warming. But Ban Ki-Moon said Tuesday that the evidence
is "quite clear" that humans are the main cause of temperatures
rising faster than expected.
climate records date back to eighteen fifty. The United Nations weather agency says
two thousand to two thousand nine was the warmest decade on record. And it said
this week that final results will likely show two thousand nine was the
fifth-warmest year on record.
Current estimates show record warmth this year in large
parts of southern Asia and central Africa. The agency reported that the only
parts of the world with cooler than average conditions this year were the
United States and Canada.
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. For the
latest news from Copenhagen, go to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.