Page last updated at 13:28 GMT, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Alex Salmond defends Copenhagen climate meeting

Protesters
A group of about 20 protesters broke through security

Scotland's first minister has dismissed criticism of a climate change event in Copenhagen he spoke at after several prominent figures pulled out.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had been listed to speak at the session in the Danish capital.

But Mr Salmond said the event had still sent a powerful message on the climate.

Scotland does not have access to the main UN climate change event and is not part of the UK government delegation.

London mayor Boris Johnson also pulled out of the event in which Mr Salmond was involved.

But the first minister, who had earlier highlighted former film star Schwarzenegger's attendance at the event, told BBC Scotland that figures including the Crown Prince of Monaco and the senior figures from places like Quebec and Catalonia had attended.

Too many people have too much political capital invested in Copenhagen for there not to be something of an agreement
Alex Salmond
First minister of Scotland

Mr Salmond said of the event, billed as a "commitment session": "We've got governors and presidents from across Europe, from the United States, from Canada, Australia, all of whom are here because they, like Scotland are making serious commitments to climate change."

He went on: "When you've got that sort of mobilisation internationally, we shouldn't really get drawn in to the Holyrood view of the world, which regards everything as who turns up, who doesn't turn up.

"The people who turned up represented a massive section of the world population - the commitments they are offering are meaningful commitments and I hope it serves as an inspiration to the conference as a whole."

Pointing out Scotland had the world's most ambitious targets, with a commitment to cut emissions by 42% by 2020, he added: "People are gong to listen to states large and small if they're leading by example."

Speaking generally, the first minister said there had to be a deal in Copenhagen.

"Too many people have too much political capital invested in Copenhagen for there not to be something of an agreement - I think the real issue is going to be the determination to implement what I think will emerge form these talks," he said.

Earlier, climate change protesters tried to disrupt the meeting at which Mr Salmond was speaking.

A group of about 20 protesters broke through security and tried to enter the hall while chanting "climate justice".



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Guardian.co.uk Alex Salmond's whisky warning to world leaders in Copenhagen - 1 hr ago
Times Online Boris Johnson tells climate summit to take off its carbon neutral hairshirt and cheer up - 1 hr ago
Computing.co.uk Mayors and governors ready for Copenhagen's "heavy lifting" - 6 hrs ago
The Scotsman Copenhagen: Arnie leaves Alex to fight global warming alone, and Ban and Boris pull out too - 8 hrs ago
Telegraph Alex Salmond pretends to play with the big boys in Copenhagen - 9 hrs ago



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