U.n. Climate Change Conference Begins in South Africa

Nov 28, 2011, 10:43 by R.E. Christian

The United Nations' climate change summit began Monday in Durban, South Africa, with calls for compromise and commitments to rein in global carbon emissions.

Delegates urged wealthy countries to help shoulder responsibility for polluting the atmosphere by providing funds to developing countries as part of a long-term response to global warming, the South African government news service BuaNews reported.

The official name of the summit is the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP17.

South African President Jacob Zuma greeted the more than 15 000 delegates, who will meet for the next two weeks to discuss long-term climate cooperation.

"Climate change can no longer be treated as just an environmental problem. It is a matter of life and death," Zuma said.

"We also feel strongly that as an African conference, the COP17 outcome must recognize that solving the climate problem cannot be separated from fighting poverty," he said.

Africa committed to reduce carbon emissions by 34 percent in 2020 and 42 percent in 2025, Zuma said.

Expectations are low for a comprehensive and legally binding agreement at the conference, but delegates said they were hopeful of making some progress on certain issues.

Source: UPI