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'Climate Express' Bound for Copenhagen

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In the bracing cold of Friday morning, hundreds of blue-clad environmentalists waited expectantly in the bustling lounge at North Station for the "Climate Express", bound for Copenhagen, where they will air their views on climate change.

About 50,000 environmentalists from across the world will gather Saturday in the Danish capital, where the UN-led climate talks is underway, to launch demonstrations in a bid to urge the international community to do more in tackling global warming and reducing carbon emissions.

More than a dozen French non-government organizations, including Friends of the Earth, will take part in the activity.

The state-owned railway company, SNCF, supported the climate activists by providing a free express. In the lounge, about 400 members from various green groups held several super-size banners with slogans and signatures of supporters, attracting the attention of passengers and passers-by.

The railway station made exquisite preparations for the special service, using purple and pink footprints on the pavement to guide passengers to the designated platform. Railway station staff ushered environmentalists on board through a beautiful arch set up at the entrance of the platform.

Sebastian Godinot, an organizer from Friends of the Earth, told Xinhua that the world needed to take immediate actions to tackle the pressing issue of climate change, a message he and his colleagues wanted to send to representatives from countries across the world at the Copenhagen conference.

Godinot said it was mainly the developed countries' responsibility for the limited success of previous climate talks in recent years.

"The commitments they (developed countries) made on emission cuts are not enough to deal with challenges caused by climate change," Godinot said. "Besides, there are many unclear points in their commitments on providing financial support and technological transfer to developing countries."

Developing countries, including China, had made commitments to fight climate change and reduce emissions, although they were not required to set targets, which was "ironic" given developed nations' response, he said.

Godinot joined his companions and boarded the red train, which slowly picked up speed and departed to cheers and applause from well-wishers.

More than 15,000 participants, including delegates from 192 countries, are gathering in Copenhagen from December 7-18 for the Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The 12-day conference is expected to seal a deal to slow the pace of global climate change.

However, developed and developing countries still have major disagreements on key issues, including emission reduction targets, financing and technological transfer.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2009)

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