/ languages

Choisir langue

Climate Change Conference - leak outcry

Leaked draft sparks developing countries' protest

Article published on the 2009-12-09 Latest update 2009-12-09 15:02 TU

The display in Copenhagen's central square for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, 7-18 December.Photo: Reuters/Bob Strong

The display in Copenhagen's central square for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, 7-18 December.
Photo: Reuters/Bob Strong

Developing countries, green groups and aid activists have attacked a draft proposal for a political agreement on climate change during the UN summit in Copenhagen. The text, drafted by chair nation Denmark and leaked to the Guardian newspaper on Tuesday, is said to favour rich nations at the expense of developing countries.

The controversial draft "threatens the success" of the United Nations' climate talks, said the head of the Group of 77 developing country bloc, Sudanese delegate Lumumba Stanislas Dia Ping.

"The G77 members will not walk out of this negotiation at this late hour because we can't afford a failure in Copenhagen," he told journalists. "However, we will not sign an unequitable deal. We can't accept a deal that condemns 80 per cent of the world population to further suffering and injustice."

African representatives, led by the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance and civil society groups, believe the leaked documents demonstrate that developing countries will be set unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions in 2050 compared to developed countries.

The draft deal, supposedly negotiated by richer nations including the United States, the UK and Denmark, would also see control of climate change given to the World Bank.

It is thought the proposal would seek to restrict temperature rises to two degrees centigrade. And it suggests that 10 billion dollars a year should be given to poor countries to adapt to climate change from 2012 to 2015.

Augustine Njamnshi of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance told demonstrators that, if the deal were pushed through, it would have dire consequences for the African Continent.

"I will not die in silence. Ten billion! Ten billion is not enough to buy the coffins you will bury us with. So we are saying, a political deal is a bad deal," Njamnshi shouted to the crowd of about 100 outside the Bella Center in Copenhagen.

Report on Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

09/12/2009 by Mark Rodden

UN climate secretary Yvo de Boer sought to downplay the issue, insisting the text - dated 27 November - was informal and simply aimed at sounding out opinion.

"By discussing their text in secret back-room meetings with a few select countries the Danes are doing the opposite of what the world expects the host country to do," said Friends of the Earth in a statement

"The Danish government must stop colluding with other
rich nations," the green campaigners said. "Instead it must take as a starting point the positions of developing countries - which are the least responsible for climate change, but who are most affected by it."

The early draft states that UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adherents have a "shared vision" for limiting warming to a maximum of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Emissions pledges are not detailed.

But, among other things, the text points to a year by which developing countries, which are likely to be the big emitters of tomorrow, would see their emissions reach a maximum.

In addition, the draft document does not say that the future pact should include a second commitment period under the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.

Developing countries strongly favour Kyoto. Industrialised countries that have ratified that treaty - all of the developed world, except the United States - are legally bound to curb their carbon emissions, though this obligation does not apply to poorer nations.

Conference chairperson and former Danish climate minister Connie Hedegaard dismissed accusations of covert dealings.

"Under no circumstances is this a 'secret Danish draft' for a new climate change agreement. Such a text does not exist," she said. "In this kind of process, many different working papers are circulated amongst many different parties with their hands on the process. These papers are the basis for informal consultations that contribute with input used for testing various positions. Therefore, many papers exist. That is quite normal."

The controversy errupted just hours after UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon said he was "optimistic" that the 12-day negotiations would yield a "robust agreement".