World delegates gathered Monday in Durban, South Africa, to kick off two weeks of environmental talks. Leaders are expected to determine the fate of the greenhouse-gas limiting Kyoto Protocol, which partially expires next year.
Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace called for continued support for the Kyoto Protocol and urged European and Asian economies to ignore roadblocks from the United States to push climate initiatives forward.
"This is the last chance for the United States," Greenpeace said in a statement. "The entire global effort to reach agreement on tackling climate change must not be allowed to be held hostage by the United States."
The United States isn't party to the Kyoto Protocol, a matter that Greenpeace says is an excuse for other world governments to abandon climate initiatives.
Chris Huhne, British secretary of state for energy and climate change, writes in The Daily Telegraph newspaper in London that "all major emitters" must commit to a comprehensive legal framework.
London, he said, was committed to Kyoto and it was time for other governments to follow suit.
"A commitment to a new agreement will provide that certainty -- and Kyoto provides the basis of the rules we need to manage a destabilizing climate," he writes. "Durban must not be the end of Kyoto but a chance to build on what it began."