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Climate Talks Open in Warsaw

Delegates chat prior to the opening of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 11, 2013.
Thousands of delegates from nations and environmental organizations around the world have opened climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, to lay the groundwork for a new treaty to fight global warming.

The 12-day U.N. talks opened Monday and began with warnings about potentially disastrous warming, unless mankind slows pollution of the atmosphere with fossil fuels.

At the opening of the session, Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec said the super-typhoon that ravaged parts of the Philippines late last week should cause "an awakening."

"Only two days ago a powerful typhoon swept through the Philippines claiming thousands of lives and leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes. A great human tragedy. Unforgettable, painful, awakening. I said awakening because it's another proof that we are loosing this unequal struggle of men and nature that beset us yet again and will continue in the future if we do not close ranks and act together to strike back," said Korolec.

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres also referenced the "devastating impact'' of the typhoon in her opening speech. She urged delegates to guarantee greater climate security for the generations to come.

"There is no doubt that climate change has created an unlevel playing field for future generations. Previous generations, unknowingly, had an advantage. And now we know that the next generations face a monumental uphill struggle. We must urgently level the playing field," she said.

No major breakthroughs are expected at the talks, but the level of progress could be seen an indicator of the chances of reaching a new global warming treaty in 2015.