–Police push back protesters in Copenhagen on Wednesday, the 10th day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Danish police fired tear gas and arrested more than 200 activists, who accuse negotiators of ignoring their voices. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/Getty Images.)
As international climate talks in Copenhagen enter their final phase, Danish police fired tear gas, wielded batons and arrested 250 people Wednesday during clashes with demonstrators.
Inside the city’s Bella Center, representatives from nearly 200 countries appeared close to completing an agreement that would help compensate countries for preserving forests, as well as other natural landscapes, including swamps and fields.
Yet just as the conference should be making a fresh start with the arrival of more than 110 heads of state over the next 48 hours for the summit’s last stages, pessimism seems to be taking over. The Danish chairwoman of the conference, Connie Hedegaard, announced she was stepping down, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said a new deal over global warming may not happen.
For his part, President Barack Obama, who will appear at the conference Friday, and the U.S. delegation in Copenhagen, is still holding out hope for an accord.
The biggest sticking points remain the amount of money rich countries will offer to help poorer nations cope with climate change, and whether major developing countries, such as China, will agree to binding, verifiable emission reduction targets.
“Privately, people are saying they just can’t believe that everything can be wrapped up by Friday,” Ray Suarez told Jeffrey Brown from Copenhagen on Tuesday’s NewsHour. “And the talk now is shifting to what an acceptable posture would be for the world’s leaders to leave this place with something, rather than nothing, what the something would be, and how preferable that would be to, in effect, shrugging your shoulders, admitting failure and going home.”
We’ll have more here throughout the day, as well as on tonight’s broadcast, on the climate talks from Ray Suarez and the rest of the NewsHour team on the ground in Copenhagen.
[The U.S. Senate inched closer](http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121497843) toward passing [health care reform](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/health/healthreform/) Tuesday after striking down the latest obstacle to a final vote on a bill: a pair of amendments that would have allowed individuals, pharmacies and drug wholesalers to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada and other foreign nations. *
[European regulators dropped an antitrust case](http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fiw-eu-microsoft17-2009dec17,0,5462580.story) against Microsoft after the software giant agreed to offer customers on the continent a choice of up to 12 different Web browsers, including its own Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari. *
[Iran](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/indepth_coverage/middle_east/iran/) announced Wednesday [it has successfully test-fired](http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8415489.stm) an enhanced version of its longest-range missile, which is capable of striking Israel, U.S. military bases in the Gulf and parts of Europe. *
[The Internal Revenue Service agreed](http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/15/AR2009121504534.html) to forgo billions in potential tax payments from Citigroup as part of [the deal this week](http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec09/banks_12-14.html) that allows the bank to begin repaying $20 billion in federal bailout funds received under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. *
[The Federal Open Market Committee wraps up](http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=afFSQUVyyHcw&pos=7) its final meeting of 2010 in Washington today and is widely expected to repeat its pledge to keep interest rates at zero for an “extended period.” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who was named [Time magazine’s person of the year](http://www.time.com/time/) on Wednesday, may also indicate the U.S. economy is gaining strength.