Carbon dioxide levels
now at the highest in 6 lakh years, say scientists
(CANADA): More than 180 nations on Tuesday began grappling
with gloomy prospects of increased pollution and global
warming at the first meeting on the United Nations Kyoto
Protocol, as a political storm unfolded in host nation
Canada. Launched on Monday, the 12 day gathering of
the U.N. Frame work Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
is expected to draw between 8, 000 and 10, 000 participants
from Governments, business, science and green groups.
Its challenge will be to frame the first steps for crafting
pledges on greenhouse gas pollution after the present
"commitment period" of the Kyoto Protocol runs out in
2012. "People who have sent their delegates here want
real progress," said Canadian Environment Minister Stephane
Dion. "That's why here in Montreal, we have get results."
Meanwhile, Lord May, the president of Britain's leading
scientific body, the Royal Society, warned that global
warming was an apocalyptic peril whose effects are already
"The impacts of global warming are many and serious,"
Lord May said in an advance copy of his speech released
on Monday, adding that the environmental problems wrought
by greenhouse gases "invite comparison with weapons
of mass destruction." The environmental groups Greenpeace
and Friends of the Earth warned that the window of opportunity
was closing fast.
"Extreme weather events, drought and rising sea levels
threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of people
around the world. Negotiators must remember this as
they enter these talks," said Catherine Pearce of Friends
of the Earth International. Greenpeace campaigner Steve
Sawyer said the meetings urgently had to give a sign
that binding caps would remain post-2012, otherwise
the world's fledging market in carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions could be wrecked.
U.N. representative Richard Kinley urged industrialised
nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions that
are contributing to global warming. But experts pointed
out that developing countries such as China and India
will now have to contribute to anti-pollution controls.
The Montreal meeting is the first by the convention
since the Kyoto Protocol, signed by 156 countries took
effect in February.
The pact commits industrialised nations to making specific
cuts in carbon dioxide and five other greenhouse gases
that trap solar heat, thus warming the planet's surface
and disrupting its delicate climate system. But the
present commitment period does not include the planet's
worst polluter, the United States, which walked away
from the protocol in 2001 because of the high cost of
meeting its Kyoto targets. No does it include fast-growing
developing countries, such as China and India, in its
pledge on target reductions.
The present Kyoto period is only just a tinny first
step towards tackling greenhouse gases that have increased
dramatically in recent decades as fossil fuels are burned
to power economic growth. Atmospheric CO2 levels are
now at the highest in 650, 000 years, scientists say,
and 2005 is likely to go into history books as the warmest
year on record. The present Kyoto period is only just
a tinny first step towards tackling greenhouse gases
that have increased dramatically in recent decades as
fossil fuels are burned to power economic growth. Atmospheric
CO2 levels are now at the highest in 650, 000 years,
scientists say, and 2005 is likely to go into history
books as the warmest year on record.
Canada is hosting the meeting amid domestic political
upheaval after Prime Minister Paul Martin's embattled
minority Government was ousted late on Monday by a 171-133
no-confidence vote in Parliament after months of acrimonious
The motion came after Mr. Martin rejected an Opposition
ultimate to promise to dissolve Parliament in January.