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Plea to stop squabbles ends Greenland climate talks

August 19, 2005

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Representatives of 23 nations deeply
split about how to combat global warming ended talks in
Greenland on Friday with a plea from the host to stop years of
squabbling and take urgent action.

“The blaming game has to stop,” Denmark’s Environment
Minister Connie Hedegaard, said in a statement after the
four-day meeting she chaired in Ilulissat, north of the Arctic
Circle.

“Instead of blaming other countries for the lack of action,
all governments should present credible visions on how they
could make their own fair contribution to combating global
climate change.”

Representatives at the talks toured a fast-receding
glacier. Areas of summer melt in Greenland have expanded
sharply in recent years.

Many scientists say that a build-up of greenhouse gases
from fossil fuels burned in cars, factories and power plants is
contributing to what could become catastrophic global warming.

Representatives of nations including the United States,
Japan, China, India, Mexico and the European Union were at the
informal talks hoping to smooth policy splits after Washington
pulled out of the United Nations’ Kyoto protocol in 2001.

Exact details of the talks were kept confidential.

Denmark, which owns Greenland, called the talks to find a
way out of the deadlock.

“There is a growing consensus on the need for action now,”
Hedegaard said. “Several ministers underlined how their
countries are already experiencing severe economic, social and
environmental consequences of climate change.”

U.N. studies suggest worldwide temperatures may rise by
1.4-5.8 Celsius by 2100, triggering more droughts, storms and
floods and driving thousands of species to extinction. Melting
icecaps could raise sea levels by almost a meter by 2100.

HELICOPTER OVER ICECAP

“Ministers have come face-to-face with the visible evidence
of the scale and urgency of the climate change challenge,”
British Environment minister Elliot Morley said after viewing
the polar icecap from a helicopter.

He said the latest satellite data showed that Arctic Sea
ice had shrunk to a record low for the month of June.

U.N. talks in Montreal in late November will seek ways to
extend the Kyoto protocol beyond 2012 to include developing
nations, and to encourage outsiders led by the United States,
the world’s biggest polluter, to take part.

Kyoto’s initial target of cutting greenhouse gases by 5.2
percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12 only applies to developed
nations.

President Bush pulled the United States out of Kyoto in
2001, saying it was too expensive and wrongly excluded
developing nations from the first round.

The United States and Australia, which is also outside
Kyoto, agreed an alternative pact with China, India, South
Korea and Japan last month on sharing new clean technology to
combat climate change.