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Thursday, Dec. 10, 2009

Leaked Danish draft at COP15 angers G77 bloc

Developing countries furious at extra burden

Staff writer

COPENHAGEN — A leaked draft prepared by Denmark but reportedly compiled with assistance from the U.S. and the U.K. threatened to disrupt proceedings at the U.N. climate change conference, infuriating developing countries who feared the proposal would force them to shoulder more of the burden for reducing emissions.

The uproar began Tuesday afternoon when British newspaper The Guardian leaked portions of a draft treaty on its Web site. According to the report, the Danish presidency of the Climate Change Conference, or COP15, was going to propose 2020 as the year in which global emissions peak, although it admitted it would take longer for developing countries' emissions to reach their plateau.

The text also suggested developed nations should reduce their emissions by 80 percent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels.

Developing countries were particularly infuriated by a section that called for the establishment of interim reduction targets for developed countries by 2020. No specific percentage was proposed in the text, most likely because that would be a decision for senior ministers who will arrive in Copenhagen next week, a couple of days before a summit of 110 world leaders on Dec. 18.

Developing nations strongly criticized the "Danish Treaty," warning it put the conference in peril.

"This is a serious violation that threatens the success of the Copenhagen negotiation process," said Sudanese envoy Lumumba Stanislas Dia Pin, who heads the Group of 77 block, which includes China and India, two of the top three biggest polluters.

"Focus on the Danish text right now is a distraction from the negotiations. The Danish text is weak and reflects a too elitist, selective and nontransparent approach by the Danish presidency," said Kim Carstensen, head of the WWF Global Climate Initiative.

However, unlike a pre-COP15 meeting in Barcelona where many developing nations from Africa walked out in protest at developed nations, G77 leaders said the Danish text would not lead to similar actions by developing countries in Copenhagen.

"G77 members will not walk out of this negotiation at this late hour because we cannot afford a failure in Copenhagen," Dia Pin said.

By Wednesday morning, after Yvo de Boer, the top U.N. climate negotiator, denied the text was an official U.N. document, tempers had cooled somewhat, with developing country delegates still wary and suspicious of what they will be asked to do, but also saying that given the intensity of the negotiations, such incidents are to be expected and agreeing with the G77 head that failure is not an option.

"There had been rumors the Danes had a text like the one that was leaked, so it's not a total surprise. Negotiations are still ongoing, though, and none of us in the developing world want to be blamed for failure," a developing country delegate said on condition of anonymity.

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The Japan Times

Article 13 of 13 in National news


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