Denmark calls for new thinking on climate change

Denmark urged “new thinking” on Tuesday about ways to combat global warming at the start of climate talks by 25 nations in Greenland. “Climate change represents a growing global challenge,” Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller told delegates at the start of the informal four-day talks on the island in Ilulissat, north of the Arctic Circle.

“It’s my hope (that the talks) will help to push things along. There is a need for new thinking,” he said.

Denmark is hosting the talks in Greenland, which is part of Denmark but has extensive home rule.

Ministers and officials from nations including the United States, China, India, Mexico and the European Union were attending in a bid to resolve deep policy splits after Washington pulled out of the U.N.’s Kyoto protocol on combating global warming in 2001.

“We must find a model for how all big emitters of greenhouse gas can be actively involved in future climate efforts,” Moeller said.

Kyoto is meant as a first step towards braking a rise in global temperatures from a build-up of gases from fossil fuels emitted by power plants, factories and cars.

U.N. reports say that rising temperatures could spur more desertification, storms and floods, and melt icecaps, raising sea levels by up to a metre (yard) by the end of the 21st century.

U.S. President George W. Bush pulled the United States out of Kyoto, saying that it was too expensive and wrongly excluded developing nations from the first round of targets until 2012.

Denmark hopes the Greenland meeting will help prepare for U.N. talks in Canada in late November on ways to widen the Kyoto protocol to include the United States and developing nations like China and India after a first phase running to 2012.

The United States and Australia, which is also outside Kyoto, agreed a new pact with China, India, South Korea and Japan last month on sharing new clean technology to combat climate change in an alternative scheme.

Under Kyoto, developed nations will have to cut their emissions of greenhouse gases by an average 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12. The Greenland meeting is not due to reach any formal accords.

Source: Reuters Alert (Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in Oslo)