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Indigenous groups push for progress at climate summit

Dozens of aboriginal protesters rallied Wednesday at the UN summit in Copenhagen to protest the slow pace of climate-change negotiations.

Dozens of aboriginal protesters rallied Wednesday at the UN summit in Copenhagen to protest the slow pace of climate-change negotiations.

The People's Summit demonstration started at the Danish capital's Bella Centre, where officials from 192 countries are meeting.

Protesters, who included indigenous peoples and supporters from around the world, are also upset with Canada and other developed countries for not committing to bigger cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

"There's a lot of watering-down and compromising going on," Tom Goldtooth of the U.S.-based Indigenous Environmental Network told CBC News during Wednesday's protest, which later joined a larger group of protesters outside the Bella Center.

Goldtooth said protesters are "demanding 49 per cent reduction levels by 2020 — not 20 per cent, not six per cent like the United States is going to be asking for. No. They're demanding real solutions, not false solutions."

He added that protesters are worried countries will not reach a serious agreement to slow the warming global climate by the time the summit wraps up Friday.

Among the delegates in Copenhagen for the two-week United Nations summit is Yukon elder Stanley James, an adviser to the Arctic Athabaskan Council and the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council.

James said governments must include indigenous peoples in discussions about climate change, the effects of which he sees first-hand in Canada's North.

"It's been a number of years, I guess, they've talked about it, but they haven't done anything really in cleaning up the environment," said James, who was not part of Wednesday's rally.

"We need to have the aboriginal people at the table with those government people … then things will change, I think."

World leaders are starting to arrive at the climate talks this week, with more than 115 expected. However, it remains to be seen what those leaders will achieve by the time the talks end.