Barack Obama launches climate forum to help seal the deal in Copenhagen
Washington, 31 March 2009 - US President Barack Obama has invited 16 major economies to take part in a forum on climate change in a bid to speed up work towards an international climate change agreement.
The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate will bring together key countries to speed up the negotiations and seal the deal on climate change at the key UN talks in Copenhagen on 7-18 December.
Preparatory talks will kick off on 27 and 28 April in Washington D.C., followed by a summit of the 17 leaders in July in Italy, in the margins of the G8 summit.
The 17 major economies in the forum are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.
President Obama has made the fight against climate change a key priority of his Administration since he took office in January.
The announcement of the Major Economies Forum came as the latest round of UN climate change talks kicked off in Bonn, with 190 nations meeting to work on an international pact to be agreed in Copenhagen.
US Climate Envoy Todd Stern told delegates at the Bonn meeting that the US is "very glad to be back" in the negotiations - in a reference to the Bush Administration, which never ratified the Kyoto Treaty.
"We want to make up for lost time, and we are seized with the urgency of the task before us," Stern said to loud applause from the 2,600 delegates.