Protests, Scandal Derail Climate Talks

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WASHINGTON -- The climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark were supposed to produce groundbreaking agreements on cutting carbon emissions.

However, a new report shows the meeting itself will leave a bigger carbon footprint than any previous climate summit - and the trouble doesn't end there.

An Apocalyptic Warning

Environmental activists are sounding an apocalyptic warning that war, famine, pestilence and death are what's in store if the climate change summit in Copenhagen doesn't produce a real deal.

"Human lives are at stake," student Sara Kragelund warned. "We think it's not so much the planet - the planet will survive - but people are suffering around the world so that's what we want our leaders to recognize and to act upon."

But the world delegates attending the conference aren't giving them much hope as they frantically try to come up with a plan.

Talks abruptly stopped Monday when a bloc of developing countries walked out of the conference, upset about what they see as unfair carbon emissions standards and a lack of funding.

Meanwhile, the headlines aren't the kind organizers had hoped for with the meeting frequently being sidelined by what's going on outside rather than what's going on inside.

For instance, anger over the lack of progress on climate talks sparked clashes between protesters and riot police.

There was also the recent scandal involving thousands of e-mails at a leading British climate research facility indicating scientists changed data to make it look like the Earth is warming.

Questionable Research

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore drew criticism for using questionable research to suggest the entire north polar ice cap could be ice-free during the summer months within five to seven years.

"The continuing research shows that Antarctica as a whole has now almost certainly tipped into a negative ice balance," Gore said.

However, the climatologist Gore was citing, Wieslay Maslowski, later threw the Oscar-winning global warming documentarian under the bus.

"I would never try to estimate likelihood at anything as exact as this," Wieslay told the London Times. "It's unclear to me how this figure was arrived at based on the information I provided to Al Gore's office."

Gore's office later admitted the quote was based on an old ballpark figure.

The latest black eye comes just days before more than 100 world leaders, including President Barack Obama, will attend the closing session of the summit in hopes of signing an agreement.

But that's proving to be a lot tougher than previously thought as an agreement is still quite a ways off.

Meanwhile in the U.S., cap and trade carbon-control legislation has been stalled in the Senate all year.

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