Article published on the 2009-12-14 Latest update 2009-12-27 13:35 TU
A view of discussions during the alternative Klimaforum conference in Copenhagen, held in parallel alongside the official UN summit.
Photo: Reuters/Christian Charisius
Delegates from developing countries boycotted talks at the United Nations' Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen on Monday, demanding that greater attention be given to the future of the Kyoto Protocol. The protesting delegates returned hours later, but tensions between developing and developed countries remain high.
African delegates, backed by the Group of 77 developing countries, led the five-hour boycott of working groups.
They returned only after being assured that this week's talks would not sideline discussion of the future of the Kyoto Protocol.
The Protocol commits developed countries - those that have ratified it - to legally binding emissions cuts, without imposing similar limits on developing countries. It is due to expire in 2012.
The countries involved in Monday's protest have not abandoned the Copenhagen summit, but "they are not prepared to continue the discussions while there's an insistence on ignoring the Kyoto Protocol," Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International, told RFI.
"Developing countries [...] are not prepared to drop the only legally binding instrument they have in favour of a discussion about the longer-term cooperative action process," he said. "And that seems eminently fair and sensible."
With fewer than five days of negotiations left before the summit closes on 18 December, Hobbs warns that that the UN summit could turn out to be "a bit of a catastrophe" unless world leaders can come up with more solid commitments.
Acknowledging fears that the conference may come to nothing, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched a fresh appeal to delegates to reach an agreement.
"I appeal to all world leaders [...] to redouble efforts to find room for compromise," he told reporters on Monday, hours before leaving to join the talks in Copenhagen.
"Time is running out [...] There is no time for posturing or blaming."
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