Following are notable quotes from the first day of the largest-ever climate conference aimed at agreeing the outlines of a sweeping climate pact to stave off dangerous climate change.
About 15,000 delegates from about 190 nations are meeting in Copenhagen from Dec 7-18 and have been tasked with agreeing immediate action to curb greenhouse gases and come up with billions of dollars in climate aid for poorer countries.
DENMARK'S CONNIE HEDEGAARD, PRESIDENT OF THE COPENHAGEN CLIMATE CONFERENCE
Don't believe that anything gets easier if we postpone things now. This is the time, she told reporters, underscoring the need to seal a tough political agreement to fight climate change.
YVO DE BOER, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE SECRETARIAT
I believe that this conference has already written history, that this conference will write history but we need to make sure it is the right history.
DESSIMA WILLIAMS, CHAIR, ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES
Given that our very survival is threatened we stand to lose the most if nothing happens here. Naturally then, for ourselves and for the world, we are here to save ourselves from burning and from drowning.
AOSIS will not accept a made for television solution.
RAJENDRA PACHAURI, CHAIRMAN OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE
The evidence is now overwhelming that the world would benefit greatly from early action, and that delay would only lead to costs in economic and human terms that would become progressively high, he told delegates.
JONATHAN PERSHING, U.S. DEPUTY SPECIAL CLIMATE ENVOY
What the U.S. has put on the table is a trajectory that is not only consistent with but meets the criteria of a robust climate (deal), he told reporters.
YU QINGTAI, CHINA'S CLIMATE CHANGE AMBASSADOR
The final stage is here with us. Rather than describing it in optimistic or pessimistic terms, we need to focus on the substantive work before us.
The reason I am not using the word optimistic is that from the proceedings today you must have recognized that the parties are still pretty much wide apart, particularly on some of the critical substantive issues, he told Reuters.
KIM CARSTENSEN, LEADER OF WWF GLOBAL CLIMATE INITIATIVE:
The speakers set the bar high and promised a high level of ambition. Now they need to deliver what they promised.
Signing the deal is about finding compromise but it is as much about taking the opportunity to create more green jobs, to lift many out of poverty and get access to clean energy. Climate action is a win for us all, he said in a statement.
KANDEH YUMKELLA, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, U.N. INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT Organization
OECD countries need to send a signal that they do care about others. (Developing) countries also want to grow and modernize. We cannot have two worlds in the 21st century where we say to some: slow your growth, keep your forests alive so we can keep doing what we did before, he told reporters on the sidelines of a UNIDO conference in Vienna.
(Reporting by Alister Doyle, Gerard Wynn, Emma Graham-Harrison, Richard Cowan and David Fogarty in Copenhagen and Mark Heinrich in Vienna; Editing by Dominic Evans)