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UPDATED: November 27, 2012
UN Climate Change Conference Opens in Doha

The latest UN climate change conference opened Monday in Doha, Qatar, where delegates from over 190 countries gathered for discussions on major issues relating to global anti-warming efforts, including details of the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period.

Participants at the conference, known as the 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), expect it to press ahead with what has been achieved in previous years and accomplish substantive results.

At the beginning of the opening ceremony, COP 17 President Maite Nkoana-Mashabane from South Africa announced that the conference presidency was handed over to Abdullah bin Hamad Al- Attiyah, chairman of Qatar's Administrative Control and Transparency Authority.

Accepting the presidency, Attiyah said in a speech that climate change is a challenge confronting all human beings and effective actions need to be taken to cope with it.

He added that the ongoing two-week conference is a precious opportunity for every participant here to advance their efforts in salvaging the warming globe.

UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres said at the conference that the talks in Doha will strive to complete some of the work that was initiated in past COPs, especially the process started in Bali.

The UN climate chief also said the talks here will work out detailed arrangement of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, a legally binding accord requiring industrialized countries to cut their carbon emissions.

She also called for the participants' attention to the financial and technical support the developing countries are in urgent need of to bolster their anti-warming efforts, expressing hope that improvement can be done in this area in Doha.

Days before the conference's opening, Figueres said in Bonn of Germany, where the office of the UNFCCC is headquartered, that the Doha conference must deliver its objectives to speed up global action towards a low-emission future where everyone has the chance of a sustainable life.

The Doha conference will run until December 7. Among its priorities, ensuring the seamless continuation of the Kyoto Protocol as scheduled (January 1, 2013), planing the work under the Durban Platform (a new negotiating mechanism), and charting the way forward on long-term climate finance are high on its agenda.

(Xinhua News Agency November 26, 2012)

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