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Pushing at Poznan
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At the Dec 1-12 Poznan Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, delegates are making every endeavor to be heard.

Among these delegates from over 190 countries, environmental NGOs play a very active role.

Environmental NGOs claim that the economic slowdown can't be an excuse for slowing efforts to tackle climate change, and urge the participant countries to keep promises.

It's hoped that the delegates will reach a consensus to seal an agreement at the Copenhagen meeting next December to replace the current Kyoto Protocol that is to expire in 2012.

It is also an important halfway mark in the two-year negotiating process since the Bali conference last December of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), aimed at moving from discussions to negotiations by tabling a negotiating text for a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol.

Different from previous UNFCCC conferences, the Poznan meeting is held with background of a newly elected United States president who is very ambitious on climate change, and emerging global super powers that have taken unprecedented actions on emission reductions.

"The recent development of climate policies in some countries is very encouraging and we believe there will be great progress at the Poznan meeting," says Kim Carstensen, leader of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.

Carstensen says: "Then, it will be time for environmental ministers from different countries to integrate their political wills into negotiations for a successor pact."

Rising concerns over the financial crisis could weaken the global efforts on combating climate change, Carstensen says. Building a low-carbon society and encouraging investment in energy conservation and emission reduction, it is not only an effective way to tackle environmental crisis, but also the financial tsunami, he says.

Environmental ministers should take the opportunities to promote energy conservation and emission reduction and advance the utilization ratio of energy, supporting the development of "green industries", he says.

Carstensen urges the participanting countries to make concrete promises to reduce CO2 emissions by 2020.

"Deep cuts in CO2 will neither drive industries abroad nor ruin national economies. They protect nations from future climate damage, give them the competitive edge of an early mover, and create millions of green jobs," Carstensen says.

Another international environmental NGO, Green Peace has been involved in the international climate change negotiations since the 1980s.

Since the Bali conference, international negotiations on climate change didn't bear any fruit, Green Peace is striving to push the progress of negotiations and make sure all is ready for Copenhagen.

Li Yan, project director of Green Peace, says they are urging developed countries to provide enough funding and technology support to help developing countries to reduce emissions and cope with climatic disasters.

However, Wu Changhua, director of the environmental organization in China for The Climate Group, says she thinks there won't much progress in Poznan.

"Through the unprecedented financial bailouts of countries across the globe, we can see that political wills and international cooperation are crucial to deal with crisis", Wu says.

"It is the same when we are combating climate change", she says.

But, in a short term the financial crisis will certainly lessen the governments' attention towards climate change, she says.

Some countries including China have already submitted statements to the UNFCCC, to emphasize their negotiating positions and "there are still many differences," Wu says.

(China Daily December 8, 2008)

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