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UK Dispatches 45 Delegates To Climate Conference That Will Be Mostly Hot Air

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Ben Webster, The Times

Britain is to fly 45 delegates to a United Nations climate change conference this month despite an admission that little progress is likely to be made towards a deal on cutting emissions.

The team of officials and ministers, led by Ed Davey, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, will travel to the Polish capital Warsaw, which is hosting the 19th annual Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Whitehall officials privately admit that the conference, attended by delegates from 194 countries, will not deliver a breakthrough in the negotiations. Despite this, the UK delegation will be the same size as that sent to the previous three CoPs.

The last one in Doha, Qatar, last year, set a deadline of the end of 2015 for nations to sign a global agreement on climate change. World leaders are not expected to reveal any new commitments on emissions until shortly before a climate summit in New York next September, arranged by Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General.

Expectations of progress in Warsaw have also been dampened by doubts about whether the hosts are sincere about wanting a deal.

Poland, which relies on coal to produce more than 90 per cent of its electricity, is opposing the European Union’s plan to set a more ambitious target for cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. Poland is home to the power station with the highest emissions in Europe, the lignite-burning plant in Belchatów.

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