Page last updated at 18:17 GMT, Thursday, 17 December 2009

Copenhagen climate talks in quotes

George Papandreou
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou urged leaders to reach agreement

World leaders have been speaking at the UN climate conference in Copenhagen as it nears its climax. The summit's Danish hosts have sought to dampen hopes of a comprehensive agreement, although some leaders are still sounding optimistic.

Here is a selection of quotes from the conference centre.

FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY
Nicolas Sarkozy at climate summit
Nicolas Sarkozy made an impassioned plea for action at Copenhagen

People want to keep Kyoto [the Kyoto protocol], okay, let's keep Kyoto. But let us agree on an overall political umbrella.

Time is against us, let's stop posturing. A failure in Copenhagen would be a catastrophe for each and every one of us.

We must shift into top gear in this conference or we will be heading straight for catastrophe. There is less than 24 hours. If we carry on like this it will be a failure.

We are not here to convene a conference on global warming, we are here to make decisions.

UK PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN

In these few days in Copenhagen, which will be blessed or blamed for generations to come, we cannot permit the politics of narrow self-interest to prevent a policy for human survival.

It is not enough for us to do the least we can get away with when history asks that we demand the most of ourselves.

US SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON
Hillary Clinton
Mrs Clinton said the US was committed to finding $100bn for poorer nations

It would be hard to imagine, speaking for the United States, that there could be the legal or financial commitment that I have just announced in the absence of transparency from the second biggest emitter (China).

There has to be a willingness to move toward transparency in whatever forum we finally determine is appropriate. So if there is not even a commitment to pursue transparency that is kind of a dealbreak for us.

ISRAELI PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES

I call upon our neighbours, even those with whom we have not yet reached diplomatic relations, to join hands in an effort to save our region. Political disagreements should not hinder environmental co-operation.

Carbon molecules carry no passport. Rivers require no visa. Pollution travels with them.

All of us - Jews, Muslims and Christians - pray that the Jordan River will flow, fresh and holy. My call is the call of the Bible upon Adam, to "cultivate and preserve the Garden of Eden".

IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran's desire for nuclear energy has alarmed the West

We have very clear viewpoints regarding the causes... behind the destruction of the environment as well as... solutions for controlling this destructive process which we are going to submit (to the summit).

I hope that the most significant contributors to the destruction of the environment will accept international commitments and assist us in creating a fair framework, by minimising that destruction and by supporting programmes to control the consequences of it.

All countries must gain access to new technologies to diversify their energy resources and be able to use clean and renewable energy such as wind, solar, sea tide, geothermal and nuclear energies.

CHINESE CLIMATE CHANGE AMBASSADOR YU QINGTAI

Copenhagen is too important to fail. China is not interested in becoming a party to the efforts by some people to try to blame other countries for "a failure" at Copenhagen.

I believe what they are trying to do is to find excuses for their own obstructive role and very unconstructive attitude in the whole process.

INDIAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER JAIRAM RAMESH

The biggest stumbling block in my view is the desire on the part of some parties to abandon the Kyoto Protocol unilaterally and I think there has been an absence of trust and I think the blame game has begun.

EMANUEL MORI, PRESIDENT OF MICRONESIA

I ask your help to save my people. I ask your help to save the people of small island countries like mine.

I ask for your help so that together we can save this planet for our future generations.

JAPANESE ENVIRONMENT MINISTER SAKIHITO OZAWA

What I don't yet understand is whether it's really going to be acceptable to the developing nations for the US and China - and some others - not to join an agreement.

These countries are the main problem now.

VENEZUELAN PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ
Hugo Chavez addresses the summit
Venezuela is a major oil producer

I have been reading some of the slogans in the streets. One said "don't change the climate, change the system", and I bring that on board for us. Let's not change the climate. Let's change the system. And as a consequence, we will begin to save the planet. Capitalism is a destructive model that is putting an end to life.

Another notable slogan is, "if the climate was a bank, you would have already saved it", and I think that's true. If the climate was a big capitalist bank, you would have already saved it, you the rich governments.

MARCUS STEPHEN, PRESIDENT OF NAURU (SOUTH PACIFIC)

The Republic of Nauru is a single island, just 21 sq km (8 sq miles) in size. How much of our island should we compromise?

We are trapped with the Pacific Ocean surrounding us on all sides. Sea levels are rising and we have nowhere else to go.

GEORGE PAPANDREOU, GREEK PRIME MINISTER

So let us abandon any blame game. We cannot let down the world, we cannot let down our children. We are here, and we are responsible for the future of this world.

Our voices here today must make this dream a concrete reality.

AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER KEVIN RUDD
Australian PM Kevin Rudd
Australia has the highest per capita carbon emissions of developed nations

I fear a triumph of form over substance. I fear a triumph of inaction over action.

The truth is that unless we all act together - because we are all in this together - there will be limited prospects of development because the planet itself will no longer sustain it.

I fear that at this conference we are at the verge of letting down all of the little children of the world. Everyone here will be judged as an individual for what we do or we fail to do.

SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA

It is a matter of life or death for the population of the globe. We should put our heads together and take very serious decisions.

Our view is we are dealing with an issue that threatens the very survival of humanity. That must take precedence, not the issue of trying to benefit while others are going under.

SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT LEE MYUNG-BAK
Lee Myung-bak at climate summit
Seoul announced in November its goal to cut emissions by 30% by 2020

We all agree on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The decisions that we make here today will affect not only ourselves but our children and the future of this planet.

If we wish to make any real difference, the only way is to take action together. Instead of saying "you first", we should start by saying "me first".

UGANDAN ENVIRONMENT MINISTER MARIA MUTAGAMBA

The biggest stumbling block is that we are not able to follow the normal procedure and secondly that we seem to be sidelining the Kyoto Protocol.

I still have some hope that we will come around and have an agreement to the process.

NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER JENS STOLTENBERG

We are now at a very critical stage of this conference. We must all take responsibility for reaching an agreement tomorrow.

An agreement must include ambitious emissions targets and it must build on the principle of common but different responsibilities. The richest countries must carry the main responsibilities. All countries have to contribute.

Norway will take our responsibility. We will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020. In the case of an ambitious global climate agreement we will go even further and become carbon neutral by 2030.

VANUATU PRIME MINISTER EDWARD NATAPEI

As I speak, our brothers and sisters in Fiji are recovering from a category two cyclone which ripped through the country, causing widespread flooding and forcing over 4,000 people into emergency shelters.

This is but a foretaste of what could become much worse in the absence of an ambitious climate agreement.



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