Taking aim at global warming

View images of a landmark climate conference and the environmental problems it hopes to address.

Reporters, photographers and television crews gather around a TV monitor to listen as U.S. President Barack Obama address delegates at the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference on Friday, Dec. 18, in Copenhagen, Denmark. President Barack Obama plunged into an unscheduled meeting Friday with representatives of nearly 20 nations as world leaders, pressed for time, struggled to reach an agreement on how to curb heat-trapping gasses.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images Europe

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a plenary session at the Bella Center in Copenhagen on Friday.

Attila Kisbenedek / AFP

A German climate activist cries as her hair is cut outside the venue of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark on Friday.

Jens Dresling / POLFOTO

Snow and ice are cleaned off a globe on Dec. 17 in Copenhagen, Denmark. The globe is part of an art exhibit set up as nations here seek an agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Pawel Kopczynski / X00616

Protestors with a group called Lobbyists for Profitable Climate Solutions, one holding fake dollar bills, another holding a sign reading "Stop Global Whining," heckle other demonstrators near the venue of the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen on Dec. 16.

Peter Dejong / AP

Danish riot police push back protestors outside the venue of the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen on Dec. 16.

Peter Dejong / AP

A demonstrator hit by pepper spray receives help outside the U.N. talks on Dec. 16. Hundreds of climate demonstrators marched to the summit venue to show their anger over the slow progress being made by nations towards a climate deal.

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A police officer uses his baton on activists trying to get into the U.N. talks on Dec. 16.

Pawel Kopczynski / X00616

An activist shouts at police as he and others try to get into the U.N. talks in Copenhagen on Dec. 16. More than 200 people were arrested when they overran the police barricade to the summit conference hall.

Adrian Dennis / AFP

A Danish riot policeman clubs an activist who climbed on top of a police vehicle outside the U.N. talks on Dec. 16.

Peter Dejong / AP

An officer wipes his eyes after police used pepper spray against protesters on Dec. 16.

Christian Charisius / X00910

World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) activists plant hand-shaped signs with the words "Tackle climate change!" outside the foreign ministry in Berlin, Germany, on Dec. 16.

John Macdougall / AFP

Several hundred government delegates and environment ministers from around the world attend a plenary session on Dec. 16. The success of the U.N. climate conference is hanging in the balance as China and the U.S. deadlocked over whether Beijing will allow the world to check its books and verify promised cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Greepeace activists scale Australia's Sydney Opera House on Dec. 15 to make a climate statement urging nations to reach a treaty agreement. The activists were later arrested and charged with trespassing.

Dean Sewell / Greenpeace

In Copenhagen, Denmark, climate activists have held daily rallies, including this one on Dec. 15. Copenhagen is the host city for the U.N. Climate Change Conference.

Christian Charisius / X00910

Riot police clash with climate activists in Copenhagen on Dec. 14. Between Dec. 12 and 14, police arrested nearly 1,300 activists.

Yoan Valat / EPA

Visitors to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 14 check out a mock ark meant to symbolize the lack of a backup plan if nations fail to agree to a climate treaty. One consequence of runaway warming would be rising seas and widespread flooding.

Michael Reynolds / EPA

Several hundred protesters march during a climate protest in Copenhagen on Dec. 14.

Anders Debel Hansen / SCANPIX DENMARK

Climate activists shout slogans during a march in Copenhagen on Dec. 14.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images Europe

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore speaks at a presentation Dec. 14 on melting Arctic ice at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Bob Strong / X01138

A member of Greenpeace demonstrates during a 'Climate No Border' protest in Copenhagen on Dec. 14. The activist is dressed as 'Death', one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Peter Macdiarmid / Getty Images Europe

People get ready before the start of a 'Climate No Borders' march together with several hundred protesters in Copenhagen.

Christian Charisius / X00910

Activists dressed as polar bears stage a protest at the U.N. Climate Summit in Copenhagen.

Heribert Proepper / AP

A protester looks out from inside a police vehicle following her arrest in Copenhagen on Sunday, Dec. 13. Ministers from 48 countries met behind closed doors amid fresh protests a day after police arrested nearly 1,000 demonstrators.

Andreas Hillergren / AFP

Archbishop Desmond Tutu gestures while speaking on stage during a "Time for Climate Justice" public event at Radhuspladsen in Copenhagen.

Adrian Dennis / AFP

With emissions from a local factory behind it, a take-off on the Statue of Liberty that was erected by climate activists stands tall on Dec. 12, near the U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Attila Kisbenedek / AFP

Climate activists taking part in a mass rally in Copenhagen on Dec. 12 hug a police officer standing guard.

Adrian Dennis / AFP

Police in Copenhagen on Dec. 12 arrest some of the tens of thousands who marched downtown.

Dresling Jens / POLFOTO

More than 600 people were detained as night fell in Copenhagen on Dec. 12.


A large globe featuring an interactive display sits in a central square in Copenhagen on Dec. 10.

Christian Charisius / X00910

In New Delhi, India, activists on Dec. 10 prepare to release sky lanterns to express their hopes for the climate conference.

Manish Swarup / AP

A demonstrator taunts Danish riot police during a protest in Copenhagen on Dec. 11.

Peter Dejong / AP

This ice sculpture of a polar bear set up in Copenhagen had nearly melted by Dec. 10.

Christian Charisius / X00910

This coal-fired power plant in Macedonia, seen on Dec. 10 as pigs feed on a nearby trash dump, is one of thousands around the world that emit large quantities of carbon dioxide.

Ognen Teofilovski / X01157

Delegates gather on Dec. 10 before a plenary session at the 12-day U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen.

Attila Kisbenedek / AFP

Activists dressed as aliens on Dec. 10 roam the halls where the U.N. climate summit is being held.

Bob Strong / X01138

A woman walks past one of the dozens of exhibits at the climate summit on Dec. 10.

Axel Schmidt / DDP

Thick smoke from a coal-fired oven fills the air in this neighborhood of Calcutta, India, on Dec. 9. Coal burning is a key source of manmade carbon dioxide emissions.

Parth Sanyal / X01848

Climate activists throw lifesize inflatable dolls into the reflecting pool on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 9. Wearing t-shirts that say "CO2 Kills," the dolls are supposed to represent people who die from climate-related illness.

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images North America

This balloon with a message sits near Copenhagen’s City Hall on Dec. 9.

Axel Schmidt / DDP

Iceberg B17B, top left, floats in the Ross Sea near Antarctica after it broke off from the Ross Ice Shelf nearly 10 years ago. The monster iceberg, at 12 miles long and 5 miles wide nearly twice the size of Hong Kong, has been slowly drifting toward Australia in what scientists call a once-in-a-century event. It is now about 1,100 miles southwest of Australia. Accelerated glacial and ice shelf melt and collapses have been tied to global warming.

Australian Antarctic Division / AUSTRALIAN ANTARCTIC DIVISION

Lisa Jackson, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, speaks at a news conference at the U.N. Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen on Dec. 9.

Bob Strong / X01138

Climate change conference participants walk in front of a display of pictures on Dec. 9 in the Bella Center in Copenhagen, the venue of the 12-day meeting. Negotiators at the U.N.-organized marathon sought to calm emotions after developing countries blasted an early draft proposal that they said favored rich carbon emitters and sidelined the poor.

Attila Kisbenedek / AFP

A man walks through heaps of ash outside a thermal power plant in the village of Doburjian in the northern Indian state of Punjab on Dec. 9. A 20 percent cut in greenhouse gases by rich nations would be a "pretty good" result for a U.N. climate summit, even though it falls short of developing nations' hopes, the head of the U.N. climate panel said during the meeting’s opening days.

Ajay Verma / X01404

Members of environmental activist group Greenpeace unfurl a banner from Rome's Colosseum on Dec. 9.

Tony Gentile / X90029

Emissions-producing diesel trucks and cars pass non-polluting windmills that stand along the I-10 freeway near Banning, Calif., on Dec. 8. Sustained global warming shows no sign of letting up, according to a new analysis by the World Meteorological Organization and made public at the climate talks in Copenhagen. Although global temperature fluctuates from year to year, overall the decade of the 2000s is likely the warmest in the last 150 years covered by the report. This decade is warmer than the 1990s which were warmer than the 1980s, and so on. The conclusions are in line with independent analysis by the National Climatic Data Center and NASA.

David Mcnew / Getty Images North America

Delegates answer journalists' questions in front of the Bella Center in Copenhagen on the second day of the U.N. climate conference on Dec. 8. Talks hit turbulence on their second day, as developing countries, green groups and activists attacked an early draft of a compromise deal proposed by Denmark, the conference chair. The leaked document – dated Nov. 27 – was criticized as a backroom deal that favored rich countries on the key issues of emissions curbs and financing.

Jens Nørgaard Larsen / SCANPIX

An activist outside the climate summit in Copenhagen on Dec. 8 makes a point about Europe not retreating from its aggressive targets for CO2 emissions reductions.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Mankind's reliance on fossil fuels, including these commuters in Taipei, Taiwan, on Dec. 7, is tied to the sharp increase in CO2 since the start of the industrial age.

Nicky Loh / X90044

Global actions to lobby for curbing greenhouse gas emissions include this rally by children, some dressed as trees, in Sidon, Lebanon, on Dec. 8.

Str / X80002

This globe is part of the "Cool Globes" art installation on display in Copenhagen during the climate talks.

Adrian Dennis / AFP

This furnace is part of a steel plant in Kazakhstan. The 1960s-era factory is Central Asia's biggest steel producer -- and one of its biggest emitters of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Shamil Zhumatov / X00499

Commuters walk beneath a "Hopenhagen" banner in Copenhagen on Dec. 7. The climate summit is not expected to live up to original expecations of a global climate treaty with mandatory emissions reductions. That is now being talked about as a 2010 goal.

Adrian Dennis / AFP

In London, England, activists camped out in Trafalgar Square over the weekend of Dec. 5 after taking part in a mass march through the city.

Leon Neal / AFP

Power stations like this one in Hadera, Israel, have been a part of economc development but they are also key sources of CO2.

Yehuda Raizner / AFP

People watch an illuminated "CO2" cube in the water of St. Jorgens Lake in Copenhagen on Dec. 7. The cube represents the amount of carbon dioxide produced by an average person in one month.

Pawel Kopczynski / X00616

Workers cut down trees as part of a road extension project in the southern Indian city of Chennai on Dec. 7. Officials at the climate talks in Copenhagen warned of the dangers of desertification and rising seas.

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Sculptures are illuminated as they stand in water outside the climate conference in Copenhagen on Dec. 7.

Anja Niedringhaus / AP

Demonstrators block the entrance of Chevron Corp. in San Ramon, Calif., on Dec. 7 to coincide with the climate talks.

Paul Sakuma / AP

Journalists at work Dec. 7 at the climate conference in Copenhagen. Some 100 world leaders are expected to gather at the historic meeting on Dec. 18.

Keld Navntoft / SCANPIX

The U.N.'s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, left, and John Ash, chairman of a key summit committee, listen to a reporter's question at a press conference in Copenhagen on Dec. 6. De Boer held out hope for concrete action to curb emissions, but few expect a new treaty to replace the existing 1997 Kyoto pact.

Larsen Claus Bjørn / POLFOTO

Garbage is scattered across a ship repair yard in Mumbai, India, on Dec. 3. Rising seas is one issue before the climate conference in Copenhagen.

Arko Datta / X01337

A cyclist stops to look at one of the "Cool Globes" in Copenhagen on Dec. 7.

Adrian Dennis / AFP