UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told members global warming could present a danger for peace and security in the world. Regions will have to overcome challenges on many fronts, Ban said, and nations must work together to bring climate change under control.
The British government, a strong supporter of limits on greenhouse gases blamed for climate change, called for the discussions, which were opened by British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett at UN headquarters in New York.
Britain's UN Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry said discussion would focus on global warming's expected impacts on populations around the world.
The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected melting polar caps, rising sea levels, storms, water shortages and diminished crop production over the coming century unless global warming is brought under control. The rising temperatures are blamed on increased carbon emissions produced by humans.