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Learning English - Words in the News
12 December, 2007 - Published 12:30 GMT
'Crunch time' for climate change
Protestors at Bali summit
Protestors at Bali summit

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has told the UN climate talks in Indonesia that the time for talking about climate change is over, the time for action is now. Politicians at the conference in Bali have begun efforts to negotiate a framework for a future deal on climate. Roger Harrabin reports.

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If the world were changed by words, it would have shifted today. One head of state after another took to the podium demanding urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and better protection of the rainforests which help to regulate the climate. They all stressed the need for this meeting to agree an ambitious agenda for the next two years' negotiations over a new deal on climate change.

The meeting appeared to have two new heroes and one old villain. Kevin Rudd, Australia's recently elected prime minister, won applause after signing the Kyoto Protocol with a flourish. Previously Australia has been allied with the United States in refusing to sign. Indonesia's president was interrupted by clapping after he broke diplomatic protocol to challenge America by name.

The United States says it is leading on climate change but its climate chief told the BBC that he couldn't see the day when the US would manage even to stop the growth in its emissions, let alone make the huge emissions cuts that scientists are demanding from it by 2015.

Roger Harrabin, BBC News, Bali

Listen to the words

moved or changed from one position to another

head of state
official leader of a country (sometimes an elected politician, sometimes someone who has little real political power)

the podium
a raised table or lecture that people make speeches from, on which they can keep their notes to look at while they speak

cuts in greenhouse gas emissions
reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide and other gasses which cause pollution

stressed the need
said how important it was

(informal) someone people think is harmful or dangerous

with a flourish
with a big, noticeable movement to draw attention to what has been done

allied with
connected, joined or united with

broke diplomatic protocol
disobeyed the formal rules on how politicians and ambassadors should work with each other when they are at international conferences

he couldn't see the day
he thought it would be impossible, even in the future

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