Delegates from nearly 200 countries are meeting in Doha for the latest UN climate talks which began today.
At the top of the agenda in the Qatari capital is reaching a new deal to fight climate change.
The UN's Kyoto Protocol, the world's only binding pact for curbing greenhouse gas emissions, expires this year.
Despite mounting alarm about climate change, analysts say any final agreement is expected to pay little more than lip service to the need to rein in rising greenhouse gas emissions.
A likely failure to agree a meaningful extension of Kyoto would also undercut work on a new deal meant to unite rich and poor in fighting global warming from 2020.
A UN study last week stated the world was on target for a rise in temperatures of between 3-5C because of increasing emissions.
That would cause more floods, droughts, heatwaves and rising sea levels.
A UN conference two years ago agreed to limit any rise in temperatures to below 2C above pre-industrial times. But greenhouse gas levels hit a new record in 2011, despite the world economic slowdown.
Qatar is the first OPEC state to host the annual talks and the nation with the world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions, roughly three times those of the average American.