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World leaders are set to meet today to discuss the effects of climate change and possible political measures to tackle it.

The meeting will see representatives from 150 countries, 80 of them being heads of state, converge on the UN in New York.

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer said he expected the meeting to express the sense of urgency in terms of the progress that must be made in negotiations, adding that a breakthrough was essential.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to deliver a keynote address at the meeting, entitled "The Future in Our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change". He is reported to be optimistic that the meeting will serve to focus attention on the issue ahead of more formal negotiations in Bali, Indonesia, this December.

He said: "Bali must advance a negotiating agenda to combat climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation and resource mobilisation."

Governor "Ah-nuld" Schwarzenegger and former VP Al Gore will be at the meeting, but President Bush, known for his deep and abiding love of the UN, will not be there. Instead, he is hosting his own summit with 16 "major emitter" countries in Washington later this week, the BBC reports.

Bush is also expected to join the secretary general for dinner, in an informal capacity. ®

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