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UN Climate Change Conference begins in Qatar

26 November 2012 16:10 (UTC+04:00)
UN Climate Change Conference begins in Qatar

The first session of the two-week UN climate change talks opened on Monday as more than 17,000 delegates, experts and journalists from over 190 countries gathered in Qatar's capital Doha, RIA Novosti reported.

The 18th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is to focus on a new emissions agreement a month before the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol expires.

The Kyoto protocol, the only legally binding global agreement on reducing carbon dioxide emissions, came into force in 2005. The protocol's first commitment period ends on December 31, 2012. Russia, Japan, New Zealand and Canada have already announced their intention to join the second period.

South African foreign minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who headed the negotiation process in 2012, officially handed over the conference's presidency to Qatar's former energy minister Abdullah Bin Hamad al-Attiyah on Monday.

"This is a historic conference, critically important because of the issues raised... It is the turning point in the history of negotiations," al-Attiyah said opening the conference.

The previous UNFCCC climate talks, the longest in such conference in history, ended in Durban on December 11 last year. The sides agreed to sign a legally binding global deal in 2015 to replace the Kyoto protocol and to go ahead with cutting greenhouse gas emissions for the period until it comes into force in 2020.

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