Page last updated at 03:23 GMT, Monday, 31 August 2009 04:23 UK

UN tackles climate change effects

By Imogen Foulkes
BBC News, Geneva

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Officials from UN member states are gathering in Geneva for a five-day conference on climate change.

The World Climate Conference will look at ways to help countries cope with the effects of climate change, such as an increase in floods and drought.

The conference aims to create a global framework to ensure early warnings for tsunamis and hurricanes reach everyone.

It also aims to ensure that farmers in remote African regions know about impending droughts and floods.

This conference will not discuss cutting fossil fuel consumption or greenhouse gas emissions - things environmentalists say are essential if we are to slow down global warming, but which governments have so far found very hard to do.

Instead it will look at how to help countries cope with more floods, droughts and landslides already being caused by climate change.

Many developing countries lack proper information about what to expect.

The more difficult negotiations on a new treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto protocol on reducing greenhouse gases will have to wait for the Copenhagen summit this December.

But whatever the outcome of that summit, the coping mechanisms being planned in Geneva are essential, scientists say, because many effects of climate change are already happening.

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