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Protesters Held at Climate Talks


The incident happened outside Durban's International Conference Center. (AFP, Alexander Joe)

Half a dozen green campaigners have been arrested as the second week of UN climate talks began in South Africa when they staged a protest against what they said were big businesses stifling progress on tackling global warming.

Greenpeace said six protesters were arrested when they attempted to hang a banner at the Global Business Day conference urging negotiators to "listen to the people, not the polluters".

The environmental group is targeting what it describes as the "dirty dozen" companies, including Shell and Koch Industries, which it criticizes for being the most polluting corporations, and lobbying key political leaders to prevent action on cutting global emissions.

Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International, said: "Meeting in the shadow of the vital UN talks, these dirty dozen companies should be ashamed of their role in undermining global talks to tackle climate change, to save lives, economies and habitats.

"Our political leaders need to close the door on dirty corporations who would celebrate failure in Durban. They must listen to the people and not the polluters."

The protest by Greenpeace comes as ministers from around the world arrive for the second week of talks, in which the EU is seeking progress on a new global deal on tackling climate change, in return for the bloc committing to continue to make emissions reductions under the existing Kyoto climate treaty.

Shell is among almost 350 major businesses worldwide that have signed a communique that calls on governments to break the deadlock in the UN talks and take the necessary action within their own countries to ensure a successful transition to green growth and a climate-resilient economy.

The 2C communique is the fifth in a series originally developed by the Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group and warns that the window of opportunity to stabilize warming at no more than 2C "has almost closed".

It calls for a range of actions including effective carbon markets, providing finance for poor countries to deal with global warming, and conservation of forests.

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