Delegates from nearly every nation began discussions in Poznan, Poland Monday in an effort to create a new global climate change pact to replace the Kyoto Treaty, which expires in 2012.
Some 10,000 representatives will spend the next 12 days negotiating a new pact aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Delegates to the conference say they would like to have a deal ready to be signed next year in Copenhagen.
The Kyoto agreement has been crippled by the Bush administration's refusal to have the U.S. ratify the agreement, saying it would harm the economy.
However, some countries have expressed hope the Obama administration will follow through on the incoming president's promises to make the U.S. much more ecologically friendly.
Meanwhile, the U.N. climate chief is warning against what he calls "cheap and dirty" power as a quick fix to the global financial crisis, saying it will lead to another economic disaster.
De Boer said Sunday governments must not try to save money by giving up high-technology in favor of low-cost, but highly polluting energy sources, such as coal. He called this a new generation of bad investments that will have to be scrapped, and he predicted that wind and solar power plants will become a necessity as early as 10 years from now.
Many scientists blame global warming chiefly on emissions from cars and factories.