Pitara Kids Network

UN Conference on Climate Change

Where: Poznan, Poland

December 13, 2008 : Global warming affects everyone. Finally, after years of negotiations, most countries in the world have agreed to work together to reduce how much they pollute the Earth’s environment. The United Nations Climate Change Conference began here on December 1, 2008 with delegates from 190 countries. Their target: to reach a global climate agreement by December 2008. This would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. The US representative, Senator John Kerry, said temperatures could go up by anywhere between 3 degrees C and 5 degrees C higher by 2050. He also stressed the importance of developing economies, referring to countries such as India and Brazil, restricting their emissions.

UN Conference on Climate Change [Image courtesy UNFCC]
The senator said that the European Union’s (EU) proposal for a 20 per cent cut in emissions by 2020, the US plan to return emissions to 1990 levels, or the Chinese pledge of a 40 per cent reduction in “carbon intensity” (the amount of carbon produced per unit of GDP) – was not enough to arrest dangerous climate change. The head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, told BBC News, “Europe has played a very important role in recent years, but the US is emerging now with a new administration, and we look to big countries like China and India, Brazil and South Africa as increasingly playing a constructive role.”

Possibly the best thing to come out of the conference was the release of millions of dollars on the final day, Friday, 12 December 2008, as aid for poor countries to fight droughts, floods and other increasingly severe effects of global warming.