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UN starts climate talks in Poland
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The United Nations began this year's climate change talks in central Poland Monday to seek a deal next year to succeed the Kyoto Protocol that is to expire in 2012.

Over 9,000 participants from governments around the world and non-governmental organizations will be gathering in Poznan for two weeks to build momentum toward the Copenhagen meeting next December.

Addressing the conference, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he was convinced that the Poznan conference will serve as the basis for the success of the Copenhagen meeting.

"Combating climate change is timeless and permanent and should not be forgotten because of economic problems," Tusk said, noting that no single country could cope with the problem alone.

Poland, which relies heavily on coal-fired energy, has opposed the European Union's pact for fighting climate change and even threatened to veto the pact in December.

Inside the Europe Union, countries are still split over an EU climate pact, which demands the continent cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 20 percent by 2020. Poland and seven other European countries -- Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic -- are worried that the EU pact would worsen an economic slowdown expected in the region due to the global financial crisis.

Referring to this, the prime minister agreed that fighting climate change is a challenge for Poland.

"We'll do it," he declared however, calling on all parties to show mutual understanding and patience during the marathon talks in Poznan.

Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish prime minister, called on all sides to make climate change an even bigger issue in the coming years.

"The EU countries are ready to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent in 2020 as part of the global agreement," Rasmussen said. "We must agree to reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by 50 percent in 2050. And we must agree on a mid-term reduction goal by 2020."

Referring to the current global financial crisis, Rasmussen said the economic situation should not affect the commitment to deal with other urgent issues like climate change and poverty reduction.

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer reminded the delegates that warnings were received from economists confirming that climate change will impose significant costs on economy.

"Delaying action now will only make future action more costly," he warned.

Boer urged the delegates to make progress in three aspects during the Poznan talks.

(Xinhua News Agency December 2, 2008)

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