Negotiators began talks Monday on forging a complex global warming pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. They faced wide divisions between rich and developing countries over how to slash greenhouse gases.
The weeklong gathering includes representatives from 163 countries. It launches a 21-month process aimed at concluding a new climate change agreement by December 2009. The goal is to rein in gases such as carbon dioxide blamed for the rise in world temperatures.
Organizers of the U.N.-led talks urged delegates to work quickly before the worst effects of global warming become unavoidable.
Many scientists and the United Nations agree the world needs to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions in the next 10-15 years and slash them by 50 percent by 2050, to prevent rising temperatures from triggering devastating changes in the environment.