News

Copenhagen Conference Gets Down to Work Amid Calls for Results

The international climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark enters its second day amid reminders global warming is already underway and calls to come up with a solid, workable deal in the days to come.

Multimedia

Audio

Working sessions have begun and that means negotiators are faced with tackling the issues on the table.  The goal is to come up with substantive, but workable solutions to cut greenhouse gas emissions, promote new, eco-friendly technologies, but also promote economic growth and investment and help the less developed nations to adapt to these new conditions.

The U.N. top climate official, Yvo de Boer reminded delegates they have their work cut out.

"Negotiators need to come up with, during the next week, with solid proposals that can constitute the foundation stones an agreed outcome," de Boer said.

There are reminders of what is at stake, with the U.N. weather agency reporting that this decade is likely to be the warmest on record and 2009 the fifth warmest year since record keeping began in 1850.

The head of the World Meteorological Organization, Michel Jarraud, said most areas of the world had above normal temperatures in 2009.

"In large parts of southern Asia, central Africa, these regions are likely to have the warmest year on record," Jarraud said.

Most scientists believe the warming trend is mainly caused by human activity, especially the use of fossil fuels and the cutting down of forests.  Skeptics say global warming is part of a natural cycle of climate change.

In Copenhagen, experts and officials alike are putting the emphasis on what people and governments can do to cut the emission of greenhouse gasses.

Scientists say a 25 to 40 percent cut in carbon-dioxide emissions is needed to control global warming. The European Union, China, and India have already pledged reductions.  The United States is waiting for Congressional approval for a proposal put forward by the Obama administration.

The U.N.'s de Boer says there is still much discussion about the pledges.

"What I have heard representatives of both Europe and the United States say is that the target that China has tabled can be improved upon," de Boer said.  "What I have heard representatives of Europe and China say is that the target the United States has tabled can be improved upon.

De Boer added that African countries and other less developed nations say nobody's targets are good enough at the moment.

In Washington Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared greenhouse gasses a "threat to public health and the welfare of the American people."  That opens the way for the agency to potentially regulate emissions, if Congress does not.

In Copenhagen the EPA finding has been welcomed as a positive step.  Damon Moglen is global warming campaign director for the environmental group, Greenpeace.  He tells VOA tougher action must follow.

"This is am important first step, but it is only a first step,"Moglen said. "We need to see EPA regulation of greenhouse gases immediately and we need to see aggressive regulation of greenhouse gases."

Moglen says the EPA announcement risks being seen as a political gesture unless the U.S. puts, higher emissions cut proposals on the table here.  And, he says President Obama needs to take a clear lead on climate change when he attends the summit next week.
 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs