Commonwealth nations Friday joined forces with European and UN leaders Friday to push for a deal to tackle global warming and overcome last-minute haggling threatening to scupper climate talks.
Just days before the December 7-18 talks in Copenhagen, the Commonwealth -- representing 53 nations and their two billion people -- sought to forge a common stand to ensure the voices of some of the planet's poorest and most vulnerable nations are heard.
Faced with the "wreckage" of global crises, including the "looming existential catastrophe of climate change," the Commonwealth has to stand ready to prove itself, Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma said.
In an unusual invitation, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and two other non-members, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen addressed the organization of mainly former British colonies.
But the French president warned that as the clock ticks down to Copenhagen: "We have not yet succeeded."
"Poorer countries must have an understanding that the richer countries will help them adapt to climate change and make the necessary adjustments in their economies," British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on his website.
Britain would contribute 1.3 billion dollars over three years, Brown said, adding he believed the proposal would help break the pre-summit deadlock.
The plan aligns with demands from developing countries that developed nations pay them to slow deforestation and reduce carbon outputs in order to make up for economic disadvantages.
India is the last major emitter of greenhouse gases yet to unveil its intended goals to battle global warming.
But Sarkozy said after lunch with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that India would reveal its targets in the coming days.
"I believe it is in India's interests to take part in this meeting, and I have no doubt that they will put some figures on the table," he told journalists, speaking in French to the predominantly English-language gathering.
"The prime minister told me that he would talk about it with his cabinet as soon as he returns to draw up their definitive position," Sarkozy said.
He added that one of his advisors would then travel to India "in the coming days" to draw up a joint position with the emerging power.
Denmark's Rasmussen said that more than 85 heads of state and government will attend the climate talks, and that "many are still positively considering."
The aim of the Copenhagen summit was to come up with concrete measures to combat global warming, notably by arriving at a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol that expires in 2012, he said.
"When I speak of the Copenhagen Agreement then I am not talking about an empty declaration with niceties but a document with precise language," he said.
"It's not a stepping stone, it's a turning point."
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, the titular head of the Commonwealth, said as she opened the summit that the body had an opportunity to shape the global response to emerging challenges.
"The threat to our environment is not a new concern. But it is now a global challenge which will continue to affect the stability and security of millions for years to come," she said.
Source: AFP American Edition