Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cop15 president resigns

Danish minister Connie Hedegaard has resigned as president of the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen. The reason for her resignation is unclear but she will be replaced the prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. The climate change talks have yet to reach an agreement and remain deadlocked over emission cuts and financial aid for poorer countries.

Before she stepped down she told delegates that they must make the COP15 a success saying that they have to choose between "Fame or shame" and between "Action or stalemate". Hedegaard, a conservative politician, was appointed climate minister in 2004. She was first elected to Denmark's parliament in 1984 and was at the time the country's youngest MP.

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer says Hedegaard will continue to lead informal talks but Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen will now be the formal head of the conference. Hedegaard said it was appropriate for Løkke Rasmussen to preside with so many heads of state and government taking part.

Earlier in the day protesters attempted to enter the summit venue. Danish police fired tear gas on several hundred demonstrators trying to force their way into the buildings and at least 100 were arrested according to reports. Many environmental activists are angry over the the lack of progress on a new climate deal. Images broadcast live on Danish media site Ekstra Bladet [pictured above] showed police in riot gear pushing hundreds of demonstrators into adjacent fields.

The climate change conference is being widely seen as a failure by many activists before it has even come to a conclusion. Comments on forums and on Twitter have accused leaders from all nations of not doing enough. One person summed it up in a rather disparaging comment on the Guardian website, saying, "Is it just me or is this whole jamboree turning into the mother of all shambles?"

tvnewswatch, Beijing, China

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