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Denmark Says Climate Negotiations Too Slow

July 1, 2009

On Tuesday, Denmark said negotiations on a new global climate deal were going “too slowly” and that the process needed to speed up in order to be prepared for the crucial UN summit less than six months away.

“It is time for a frank and open dialogue so the participating countries can make clear their positions, their concerns,” said Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard.

The United Nations is hoping to finish negotiations in Copenhagen by December for a new global warming treaty intended to replace the Kyoto protocol that expires in 2012.

The Kyoto Protocol was the original pact made to establish a legally binding international agreement, whereby, all the participating nations commit themselves to tackling the issue of global warming and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The target agreed upon at the summit was an average reduction of 5.2% from 1990 levels by the year 2012.

Hedegaard says it is “essential” that political representatives call a meeting in order to expedite the move toward the ambitious goals to be set forth at the Copenhagen summit, which she believes needs more emphasis “on solutions rather than the problems”.

She made her comments before the start of an informal meeting with around 30 ministers and delegates on climate change in Ilulissat on Greenland’s west coast.

There were representatives from the world’s most nefarious polluters, including Brazil, Britain, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and the United States for the four-day annual “Greenland dialogue” meeting on climate change. The first meeting took place in Denmark in the same town four years ago.

Of all the countries invited, China was the only one to decline the invitation. The Danish media speculated that it was because of the Beijing protest over the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama visiting Copenhagen in May.

Danish government officials met with the Dalai Lama in May, despite China’s request that they respect the “one-China” policy.

“Disregarding China’s solemn representations, they insisted on meeting with the Dalai Lama, who was campaigning secessionist activities, and that meetings severely harmed China’s core interest and China-Denmark relations, and destructed friendly cooperation between China and Denmark,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

Greenland’s Ilulissat glacier, which has become a symbol of climate change, lost 60 square miles of surface area between 2001 and 2005 as a result of global warming, according to a US study published last year.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came to the conclusion in early 2007 that if global warming is allowed to continue at its current rate, would ultimately be responsible for devastating floods, drought, disease and extreme weather by the end of this century.

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