"PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago -- Climate change dominated the meeting of Commonwealth heads of government that concluded Sunday in Port of Spain with a statement of support for an international legally binding agreement in Copenhagen next month.
The Commonwealth leaders declared, 'We pledge our continued support to the leaders-driven process guided by the Danish Prime Minister and his efforts to deliver a comprehensive, substantial and operationally binding agreement in Copenhagen leading towards a full legally binding outcome no later than 2010.'
The Copenhagen meeting, taking place from December 7 through 18, aims to forge an agreement on greenhouse gas emissions limits after the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period expires at the end of 2012.
Limits must be strict enough to avert the worst consequences of global warming that are already being felt in extreme weather events, droughts, floods, melting glaciers and polar ice caps and rising sea levels that threaten to swamp coastal communities and small island states.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives in Port of Spain. (Photo by Kenroy Ambris courtesy Commonwealth Secretariat)
An intergovernmental organization of 54 independent member states, all but two of them formerly part of the British Empire, the Commonwealth countries include major economies: Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, and South Africa, as well as developing countries in Africa and Asia, and small island states in Oceana and the Caribbean."