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Montreal Summit


It's being billed as the most important international summit on climate change since Kyoto. Ministers from 180 countries are gathering in Montreal to discuss what to do next about global warming.

The most important conference on climate change since Kyoto begins in Montreal today.
Global Warming

The Arctic sea ice in 2005.

READ Ross Gelbspan's Essay: December 2005

United Nations Climate Change Conference

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They will attempt to hammer out a worldwide deal on how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions after 2012, when the Kyoto deal expires, and tackle the key questions of what can be done to bring America on board and whether fast-growing economies like China and India can be persuaded to cap their pollution levels . But what can actually be achieved?

We'll have special reports throughout the fortnight of the conference, looking at the politics, science and technology of climate change, culminating in two special programmes presented by Edward Stourton, live from the conference floor in Montreal.


Saturday 10th December:

The UN delegates in Montreal are still in talks over climate change behind locked doors.

China has signed up to the Kyoto Protocol , as a developing country they are not required in the same way to cut emissions.

The US appears to have dramatically backed down on its refusal to agree to guture talks on tackling climate change.  How important are these developments and why has the White House performed this apparent U-turn?  Charles Clover of the Daily Telegraph, Tony Juniper from Friends of the Earth and Juliette Eilperin of the Washington Post join us in Montreal to discuss.

The Russians are holding up the Kyoto Protocol discussions in Montreal.

Sir Jonathon Porritt , chair of the Sustainable Development Commission talks to us about the Kyoto hold ups.

Friday 9th December:

Hear the latest news from the Montreal conference where negotiations have been something of a roller coaster. 
We speak to Claude Mandil , the Chairman of The International Energy Agency, about how ideas for cleaner energy are progressing.

We take a look at some of the pressure groups protesting at the Montreal conference. 

A group of US mayors are in Montreal in support of the Kyoto targets. We speak to Greg Nickels, the mayor of Seattle.

In Montreal the Americans are reported to be extremely irritated by public criticism from the Canadian Prime Minister. We speak to the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett , and play what was said to give such offence. 

We look at the science underpinning the campaign to control greenhouse gas emissions . We talk to Professor Richard Lindzen , from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Dr Peter Frumhoff from the Union of Concerned scientists.

American environmentalists are a big presence in Montreal. Prominent in their ranks is Ross Gelbspan , author of two books on climate change, who gives us his personal reflections.


Tuesday 6th December:

Could the capture and storage of carbon emissions underground be a way that Britain can meet its energy needs without exacerbating climate change?

The Chancellor announced increased taxation for oil companies in yesterday's pre-budget report. We ask BP's chief executive Lord Browne how seriously he takes the issue of climate change.

Monday 5th December:

Fourth Report: How does our understanding of global warming alter the debate about what forms energy the government should encourge in the future? The UK energy review is now underway, and is supposed to be completed by next Summer. The central issue is whether to commission a new generation of nuclear reactors. The nuclear industry, not surprisingly is lobbying hard, claiming technological advances make the case for nuclear more persuasive. Our Science Correspondent, Pallab Ghosh reports.

Thursday 1st December:

Third Report: It is difficult to overstate the scale of the challenge facing negotiators at the climate change conference meeting in Montreal. Tim Hirsch assesses to prospects of success and Ed Stourton interviews the Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett, who will be at the helm of the EU delegation at the talks, to find out what she wants out of the summit.

Wednesday 30th November:

Our second report: In this country the world of science has no more prestigious job to offer than President of the Royal Society. Lord May - who used to be the government's chief scientist - has been doing it for the past five years and he retires today. He's been pretty outspoken on some of the most controversial issues in science: nanotechnology, genetic modification, and above all global warming. This week Lord May compared the effects of climate change to the impact of weapons of mass destruction. In the background to most big scientific controversies is the relationship between scientists and politicians ... the clash between scientific evidence and political reality. We asked Lord May to turn reporter for this programme. 

Monday 28th November:

In our first report, Environment Correspondent, Tim Hirsch questions Dr Harlan Watson, America's chief climate change negotiator on whether the US will accept a Canadian compromise proposal on limit ing carbon dioxide emissions.

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