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New round of climate talks set to start in Cancun

By the CNN Wire Staff
Negotiators will meet in Cancun, Mexico in late November to build on the Copenhagen Accord agreed last December.
Negotiators will meet in Cancun, Mexico in late November to build on the Copenhagen Accord agreed last December.
  • Representatives from 194 countries are scheduled to attend
  • Reducing carbon emissions is a key goal of the conference
  • Mexico's foreign minister says leaders must agree to stop global warming now
  • High hopes surrounded last year's talks, but no binding agreement was reached

Mexico City, Mexico (CNN) -- The latest round of United Nations climate change talks begins Monday in the coastal resort city of Cancun, Mexico.

Representatives from 194 countries are scheduled to attend. Negotiators will try to close the political gap between commitments to reduce carbon emissions made by developed and developing nations.

"We are very proud to be the hosts of an unprecedented effort of the international community to stop the global warming caused by humans," Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa told reporters over the weekend. "If we do not do it now, it will become not only more costly in terms of finances and human lives, but also the various forces of nature that we will have to adapt to will become more dangerous."

Last year's talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, carried high hopes for a binding global agreement to curb carbon emissions, but in the end delivered a disappointing and loose set of voluntary actions named the "Copenhagen Accord."

Eighty countries responsible for 80 percent of the world's carbon emissions signed the accord, agreeing -- among other things -- that the global temperature rise should be limited to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Working for a climate treaty

However, a report released by the United Nations Tuesday said that even if all nations meet all pledges made in the Copenhagen Accord, the world will still be only 60 percent of the way toward keeping the global average temperature rise below two degrees Celsius.

"That's why we wanted to issue this report just before Cancun, to remind the world that despite the struggles of Copenhagen, there is a climate path forward for the international community that it is feasible, but we have to accelerate it and there is a still a gap to meet the minimum objectives agreed in Copenhagen," said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program.

The Cancun climate talks are scheduled to end December 10.

CNN's Hilary Whiteman contributed to this report.