Global Development Briefing — Rotting in Denmark (c) Devex

Posted on 10/12/2009


"It’s an incredibly imbalanced text intended to subvert, absolutely and completely, two years of negotiations. It does not recognize the proposals and the voice of developing countries."

— Lumumba Stanislaus Dia Ping, the Sudanese ambassador to the Group of 77 developing countries, speaking of a leaked document known as the "Danish text" which proposes measures to keep average global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The document, subtitled "The Copenhagen Agreement," has driven an even deeper wedge between rich and poor countries embroiled in UN climate talks in Copenhagen, CNN reports. The UN body hosting the talks has played down the document’s importance, stressing that it is an "informal paper" put forward by the Danish prime minister. "This was an informal paper ahead of the conference given to a number of people for the purposes of consultations. The only formal texts in the UN process are the ones tabled by the Chairs of this Copenhagen conference at the behest of the Parties," said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Around 15,000 delegates are meeting daily in Copenhagen as they seek to form a global agreement on climate change. Next week they will be joined by around 100 heads of state to form a final deal, if negotiations in the coming days succeed in closing the gap between rich and poor nations. The "Danish text" proposes "developed country parties commit to deliver upfront public financing for 2010-201[2] corresponding on average to [10] billion USD annually for early action, capacity building, technology and strengthening adaptation and mitigation readiness in developing countries." The draft text also proposes that the money is distributed by a "Climate Fund" by a board with "balanced representation." Charity group Oxfam says the Danish text risked sidelining poorer countries as the world seeks to reduce global carbon emissions. "Like ants in a room full of elephants poor countries are at risk of been squeezed out of the climate talks in Copenhagen," said Antonio Hill, Oxfam International’s climate adviser. China also criticized portions of the text that refer to a "peak" year for carbon emissions from developing countries. Meanwhile, small island states and poor African nations vulnerable to climate impacts laid out demands for a legally-binding deal tougher than the Kyoto Protocol, the BBC reports. This was opposed by richer developing states such as China, which fear tougher action would curb their growth. Tuvalu demanded – and got – a suspension of negotiations until the issue could be resolved.

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