Copenhagen in the balance

Author: By Greg Walton

The UN is to hold a conference in Copenhagen next month that it hopes will
lead to a dramatic shift in the world’s attitude to climate change.

More than 15,000 officials are expected to attend the two-week conference from
7-18 December. Delegates from 192 countries will seek to reach an agreement
on what industrialised and developing countries can do to cut emissions.
This includes debates on help that can be given to heavily carbon-emitting
developing countries and how that money should be managed.

The conference is also expected to produce an agreement on how best to combat
climate change after 2012, when the Kyoto protocol expires. This will be
binding on all signatories. Some climate activists are concerned that the
world’s biggest polluters, the US and China, which together account for 40
per cent of emissions, will limit the extent of any targets. Others fear
that smaller nations could derail the talks as any agreement must be reached
by consensus.

So far, China has not indicated any specific targets while the US has pledged
only a 4 per cent cut in emissi

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