Wednesday, 9 December 2009


Copenhagen climate summit: developing countries warn of 'absolute devastation'

The Copenhagen climate summit was thrown into disarray last night after developing countries said the current plans for a deal on global warming condemned millions of people to “absolute devastation”.

The row broke out after the draft text of a deal allegedly prepared by the Danish government emerged, which campaigners claimed favoured rich countries and risked squeezing poor nations out of the negotiations.

The text, a draft agreement, was interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on carbon emissions for developed and developing countries – meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much.

They also expressed concern that a 'climate fund’ – supposed to provide financial assistance from richer nations to developing countries – would be run by the World Bank, under the control of developed nations.

Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the chief negotiator for the G77, a group of 130 developing nations including China, said the leaders of the rich world had a “moral obligation” to cut greenhouse gases.
He said failure to keep temperature rise below 2C (3.6F) would lead to the disappearance of island states and “certain death” for Africa.

He also said the United States President Barack Obama was condemning “the cousins and extended family of his own daughters to be destroyed to preserve the interests of the few”.

And he said the funding proposed by Gordon Brown of $10 billion per annum to help poor countries adapt to climate change was not enough to “buy developing nations citizens enough coffins”.

“What we need to ask the President is the following: We see the 2C target exposes over 100 countries to massive suffering and devastation. If that is the case, on what definition of leadership would the most developed and industrialised nations sign up to that? Would he accept that the cousins and extended family of his own daughters be destroyed to preserve the interests of the few?”

On just the second day of negotiations, Mr di-Aping upped the pressure on the rich nations to make drastic cuts in greenhouse gases.

“A British Prime Minister cannot say the cost of inaction as far as climate change is concerned will result in irreparable damage on the world and then follow that by not committing his own country the EU and advanced countries to commit to ambitious and radical reductions in emissions.
"That is what is necessary and we call on world leaders and ordinary people to put the utmost pressure on politicians to come to their senses. It is not acceptable that this opportunity will be wasted because of a few leaders.”

Mr Di-Aping, from Sudan, pointed out that the world paid $1.3 trillion to bail out the banks in the financial crisis.

He said substantial money should also be offered to help poor countries adapt to climate change, but ultimately rich nations must make cuts in emissions.

He compared the money being offered to poor nations to adapt to climate change to a sum of money being offered to an individual becoming ill.

“For example someone is going to give me a trillion dollars for exchange for having cancer,” he said. “Would a person accept that kind of damage to his health for any amount of money? I doubt it.”

However the developed nations insisted that there is still everything to play for at negotiations.
A spokesman for the Danish Ministry of Climate and Energy played down the importance of the text.

"In this kind of process, many different working papers are circulated among 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."

It is understood the text has been circulating as part of the process of trying to reach an agreement but has not been accepted formally by any countries.

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