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Governments represented at the Doha conference have started talks on crafting a new global climate treaty that would take effect in 2020. They are also discussing how to rein in greenhouse gas emissions before then, partly by extending the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty limiting the emissions of most industrialized countries that expires this year.

The U.S. never joined Kyoto, because it didn’t cover emerging economies such as India and China, which now has the world’s highest carbon emissions.

With only a few days remaining to agree on the Kyoto extension and other issues, the head of the U.N. climate change secretariat, Christiana Figueres, reminded the delegates that the “eyes of the world” are upon them.

“Present and future generations are counting on you,” she said.

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Karl Ritter can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/karl_ritter