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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora