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UN climate change talks raise curtains in Bonn
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The first of a series of UN climate change talks kicked off in Bonn on Sunday, paving the way for an ambitious and effective international climate change deal to be reached in Copenhagen in December.

The Bonn talks, which will last till April 8, attracted more than 2,000 participants, including government delegates, representatives from businesses and industries, environmental organizations and research institutions.

"The road to Copenhagen is under intensive construction and all its builders are seriously committed to successful completion," said Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"Real negotiating mode is just beginning and with only around six weeks of actual face-to-face talking time, the Copenhagen clock keeps steadily ticking. So minds need to be very focused," he added.

The 10-day meeting is the first of three planned meetings paving the way for December's Copenhagen summit, when final decision will be made on the renewal of the Kyoto Protocol, which is set to expire in 2012.

The U.S. position will be keenly observed in the Bonn meeting, as Obama's team made its debut on the meeting and has shown policy shifts from the former Bush administration on environmental issues.

Actually Obama has sent his top negotiator Todd Stern to deliver the message to the meeting: "We're back."

Delegates will try to narrow vast differences on how best to fight global warming. Issues to be discussed include how much countries need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, how to raise the tens of billions of dollars needed to fight the warming, and how to transfer money and technology to the most needed poor countries which are most vulnerable to climate change.

(Xinhua News Agency March 30, 2009)

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