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Climate conference

By United Press International   |   Dec. 15, 2009 at 8:31 AM

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Participants at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Denmark worked to meld environmental and economic concerns of developing and industrial nations.

Negotiators are trying to cobble together an agreement before the bulk of the world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, arrive in Brussels at the end of the week.

Talks were called off for a time Monday when a group of developing counties sought additional concessions from the major industrial areas on greenhouse gas emissions. Negotiations have resumed with groups looking into emissions goals and developing a plan to finance poor countries' efforts to fight the effects of global climate change.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking Monday at U.N. headquarters before traveling to Belgium where he was to address the conference Tuesday, said, "If everything is left to leaders to resolve at the last minute, we risk having a weak deal or no deal at all and this would be a failure of potentially catastrophic consequence."

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, who received the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts at publicizing the threat of climate change, made the dramatic allegation Monday that the Arctic would be free of ice during the summer within seven years. But climatologist Wieslaw Maslowski, the scientist whose work Gore cited as "fresh" evidence of the claim said, "It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at."

Gore's office clarified the former vice president's remarks, saying Gore used a "ballpark figure" from a talk Gore had with Maslowski years ago.

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