ABC News Online, 7 November 2009
Forty heads of state or government have signalled they will attend the world climate talks in Copenhagen next month, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said.
"My understanding from the Danish authorities is that already, even though a formal invitation has not yet been issued, 40 heads of state and government have indicated their intention to be present at the end of Copenhagen to celebrate success," Mr de Boer said.
He said he was unable to immediately name the leaders, but described it as "a good spread" from rich and poor countries, and which had a wide variety of interests.
He noted that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Brazilian President Lula Inacio da Silva had signalled their intention to come at the end of the December 7-18 conference.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has yet to confirm whether he will attend.
Mr De Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said climate change was now firmly nailed to the agendas of the G8, G20 and a forum of major economies that account for 80 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
"I have never before witnessed a moment in time when this issue has been so high on the agenda of world leaders," he said as senior officials ended five days of talks.
"We must capitalise on that in Copenhagen by inviting world leaders to give the Copenhagen outcome the final push and get us to a result."
The Copenhagen marathon is designed to climax a two-year process of negotiations leading to a worldwide agreement for tackling climate change beyond 2012.
The talks have been mired in discord over how to share the burden for curbing greenhouse gas pollution and to prime a financial pump to help developing countries switch to a low-carbon technology and adapt to climate change.