World News Brief, Tuesday December 8

Copenhagen climate talks begin at last as countries promise emission cuts (+analysis and background); Climate scientists debate 'climategate' emails as Saudi Arabia asks questions; Morales wins Bolivia election; Iranian protesters back on the street; and more

Top of the Agenda: Copenhagen Talks Begin

Representatives from roughly two hundred countries began talks (BBC) Monday in Copenhagen to establish a new international climate accord. Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen opened the summit with hopeful remarks, while UN climate convention head Yvo de Boer said a record number of countries had pledged emissions cuts.

Meanwhile, scientists and policymakers continue to debate whether the correspondence and documents unearthed in "Climategate" (the recent publication of emails alleging political influence in climate scientists' work) undercut the science (NYT) underpinning human efforts to slow global warming. At least one influential country, Saudi Arabia, has questioned the scientific basis for the Copenhagen talks.


The Christian Science Monitor reports that Climategate could influence the outcome of the Copenhagen summit.

In the New York Times, Paul Krugman says cutting greenhouse gasses is affordable and that the depressed economy is "no reason to wait."

In the Guardian, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the climate change deal must be legally binding.

In the Wall Street Journal, Samuel Fankhauser outlines a blueprint for paying for climate reform, since poorer countries say there will be no environmental agreement unless countries help them adapt to the effects of global warming.


A CFR Backgrounder outlines Copenhagen's many agendas.


PACIFIC RIM: US-North Korea Talks

Stephen Bosworth, US special representative for North Korea policy, visits Pyongyang (Yonhap) Monday and is open to discussing a peace treaty with North Korea in exchange for a promise to reengage six-party nuclear talks, a senior South Korean official says.

Philippines: Local militiamen attacked Philippine security forces (GlobalTimes) Sunday in the southern province of Maguindanao, after Philippine President Gloria Arroyo declared martial law in the province and deployed thousands of troops and police to hunt down three thousand Ampatuans.



Iran protesters clash with Iranian police.
Bolivian president wins re-election.


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