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Climate session opens with plea for action

President Felipe Calderon of Mexico spoke at the conference. President Felipe Calderon of Mexico spoke at the conference.
Associated Press / November 30, 2010

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CANCUN, Mexico — President Felipe Calderon called on climate negotiators yesterday to put national interests aside and act on behalf of all humanity to fight global warming.

Opening a two-week conference in his country, Calderon urged delegates to overcome the deep divide between rich and poor countries that has stymied efforts to negotiate a new climate treaty for three years.

“It would be a tragedy if our inability to see beyond our personal interests or national interests makes us fail,’’ Calderon said in a speech to 15,000 delegates, businessmen, activists, and journalists.

“The atmosphere is indifferent to the sovereignty of states,’’ he said.

The annual UN conference in this coastal resort has begun amid mounting evidence that the earth’s climate is already changing in ways that will affect both sides of the wealth divide among nations.

After a disappointing summit last year in Copenhagen, no hope remains of reaching an overarching deal this year setting legal limits on how much major countries would be allowed to pollute.

During the talks, delegates hope to conclude agreements that will clear the way to mobilize billions of dollars for developing countries and give them green technology to help them shift from fossil fuels thought to hasten climate change.

The gathering started with renewed warnings from scientists over the failure to act.

Eighty-five countries have made specific pledges to reduce emissions or constrain their growth, but those promises amount to far less than required to keep temperatures from rising to potentially dangerous levels.