International Climate Change Conference Wraps Up

MANOA (KHNL) -- A movement to bring countries together to address the changing climate wrapped up late thursday night at the east west center in Manoa.

Delegates from 16 countries plus the United Nations, European Union, and European Commission finished day two of the Major Economies Meeting.

Delegates ended the meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change on an optimistic note.

"This was among the most substantive, among the most constructive, and among the most positive discussions that I have had on the subject of climate change in the context of the fact that we went into the very difficult issues," said James Connaughton, Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

One of the major issues is reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Delegates agree something needs to be done, but the question is how.

"There are some issues we don't see eye to eye. I think we leave here with much improved understanding of each other's not only national position, but also of underlying concerns and interests and aspirations," said Shaun Vorster, a delegate from South Africa.

The goal of the conference is to kick start negotiations on an environmental plan, a plan countries must agree on by 2009. But delegates say action can start now.

"There are things we can already do today. For example, during the course of today's discussion, the air conditioning was stopped. It was getting freezing cold. Some of us were wondering why, 'Why do we need air conditioning in Hawaii?' And this is one example of what we as individuals can do," said Koji Tsuruoka, a delegate from Japan.

Delegates will continue negotiations this March in Japan. France will then host the next meeting in April.