A landmark conference on tackling climate change opened here today, with negotiators from 192 countries aiming toward a deal to ward off global warming's potentially catastrophic effects. The meeting will climax on December 18 with more than 100 heads of state or government in attendance. Opening ceremonies began with a short film featuring children of the future facing an apocalypse of tempests and desert landscapes if world leaders failed to act today.
"There will be hundreds of millions of refugees," Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN's panel of climate scientists, said in the film. The Danish prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen told opening ceremonies that the world is looking to the conference to safeguard humanity. "The world is depositing hope with you for a short while in the history of humanity," Rasmussen said. "For the next two weeks, Copenhagen will be Hopenhagen. By the end, we must be able to deliver back to the world what was granted us here today: hope for a better future."
After opening statements, negotiators from 192 countries were to embark on a gruelling round of talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) before around 100 leaders attend a summit on December 18. Delegates must craft a blueprint for tackling man-made "greenhouse" gases blamed for trapping solar heat and disrupting Earth's fragile climate system. They must also put together a funding mechanism for helping poor nations most exposed to the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change.