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Leaders met on the 29th to discuss climate change and more importantly what they expect out of the upcoming Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark. Panelists included noted speakers like Al Gore and Thomas L Friedman.

(Video may not be accessible to NALSAR Students)

With the Kyoto Protocol being considered to be a failure and global warming becoming perhaps the biggest threat to planet earth, the leaders are meeting in Copenhagen end of this year to frame a binding convention on climate change. The biggest philip to this comes from the commitment of the Obama Administration to reduction of green house gases and ‘making earth a better place’. Al Gore stated;

time is running out and that a global agreement on tackling climate change is needed this year. “What we most need out of Copenhagen is a clear, shared vision of where the world is going in the future,” Gore said. He added that the new US administration is very serious about the issue and is ready to assume a leadership role. “President Obama is the greenest person [in the White House]. He is pushing hard for a dramatic and bold move in the right direction. If other governments do the same, then we can make the change to a low-carbon future.”

AF Rasmussen, the PM of Denmark stressed that targets, adequate funds and a transparent verification scheme are needed for countries to reach long-term goals. Industrialized countries should reduce their emissions by 80% in 2050, and should help developing countries adapt to climate change through technology transfer and a global fund.

Thursday night saw an incensed debate over Israel’s attack on the Gaza strip with Israeli PM Shimon Peres defending his nation’s actions. The video for the same may be viewed below,

This open session involved UN Sec General Ban Ki Moon, Arab League Sec General Amr Moussa, Mr. Shimon Peres and Turkish PM Erdogan in what has been termed a very lively discussion. Peres came out strongly on Israel’s right to self defence and brought out the threats that the hamas posed to the jewish nation. He was however alone in his defence as the remaining leaders were vehement in their opposition to the offensive and Israel’s treatment of civilians during the attack of which Mr. Peres offered no apologies or explanation.

The Israeli president unleashed a harsh, unyielding rant that was full of strange statements, truncated arguments and meandering rhetoric. Clearly, he is feeling the effects of his age as his remarks bordered on the incoherent at times. But what was most evident was the choleric tone.

Here are a few of the stranger statements: he claimed that Israel could not accept the Saudi 2002 initiative because “there was a small problem of Iran” which wishes to rule the Middle East. Peres also claimed that Hamas did not win a democratic election. Rather Mahmoud Abbas DID win an election as president of the Palestinians. Peres also claimed there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza; that Israel supplies all the water, fuel and electricity that Gaza needs; and that if there is a problem he would personally intervene to correct it.

Also, during the debate the Turkish PM was not given a chance to reply to Mr. Peres by the Moderator at which he got up and walked out of the room. News items here.

The Webcast of the whole session may be seen here.