Poland's environment minister Marcin Korolec at the opening of the COP19 conference in Warsaw, Monday: photo - PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Close to 10,000 delegates from nearly 200 nations, United Nations agencies, the European Union and NGOs will take part in the conference at Warsaw's National Stadium, a key step towards a global and binding agreement on ways to combat global warming by the time the climate conference (COP21) is held in Paris in 2015.
Other topics that will be discussed at the conference will be the financing of the fight against global warming.
Ahead if the conference, MEPs at the European Parliament reiterated the EU’s offer to increase its target to cut CO2 emissions by 30 percent by 2020 if other major emitting countries, sich as the US and China, commit themselves to comparable goals.
Listen to a special COP19 preview here.
When it was announced last year that the 19th UN climate change conference would be held in Warsaw, green groups protested that Poland, heavily dependant on coal for its energy demands, was not the right place to hold a summit on cutting carbon emissions.
The Polish government has also been criticsed for holding an International Coal and Climate Summit at the same time as the climate conference, which is being billed as an opportunity for the coal industry to explore how new technologies can help it address climate-related risks.
"It's been seen as a real provocation and a statement from the Polish government that they have no intention to move away from coal," Wendel Trio, director of the Climate Action Network in Europe, has told the UK's Guardian newspaper.
In September, the fifth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that there are greater concentrations of greenhouse gasses globally than any time in the last 800,000 years, and a growing likelihood of extreme weather, flats, droughts, famine and mass migration.
The Polish government has also angered green groups with its determination to push forward with shale gas exploration.
"I am very optimistic about the [prospects] of shale gas in Poland," Environment Minister Marcin Korolec has told Reuters and said that Poland would reduce emissions, not by an extensive 'renewables' programme but by introducing new 'clean coal' power units.
"That is why the number of new investments we are promoting also in the coal sector will bring CO2 reduction, because we will change technologies from old-fashioned to new ones," Korolec added. (pg)