Published on
The Guardian/UK

Copenhagen Climate Summit in Disarray after 'Danish Text' Leak

Developing countries react furiously to leaked draft agreement that would hand more power to rich nations, sideline the UN's negotiating role and abandon the Kyoto protocol

John Vidal in Copenhagen

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents. (Photograph: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after
developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show
world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands
more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document also sets unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions
for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in
rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under
the proposals.

The so-called Danish text,
a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as
"the circle of commitment" - but understood to include the UK, US and
Denmark - has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was
finalised this week.

The agreement, leaked to the Guardian, is a departure from the Kyoto protocol's
principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2,
should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases,
while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands
effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would
abandon the Kyoto protocol - the only legally binding treaty that the
world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help
poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range
of actions.

The document was described last night by one
senior diplomat as "a very dangerous document for developing countries.
It is a fundamental reworking of the UN balance of obligations. It is
to be superimposed without discussion on the talks".


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confidential analysis of the text by developing countries also seen by
the Guardian shows deep unease over details of the text. In particular,
it is understood to:

  • Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;
  • Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called "the most vulnerable";
  • Weaken the UN's role in handling climate finance;
  • Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per
    person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.

countries that have seen the text are understood to be furious that it
is being promoted by rich countries without their knowledge and without
discussion in the negotiations.

"It is being done in
secret. Clearly the intention is to get [Barack] Obama and the leaders
of other rich countries to muscle it through when they arrive next
week. It effectively is the end of the UN process," said one diplomat,
who asked to remain nameless.

The text was intended by
Denmark and rich countries to be a working framework, which would be
adapted by countries over the next week. It is particularly
inflammatory because it sidelines the UN negotiating process and
suggests that rich countries are desperate for world leaders to have a
text to work from when they arrive next week.

Few numbers
or figures are included in the text because these would be filled in
later by world leaders. However, it seeks to hold temperature rises to
2C and mentions the sum of $10bn a year to help poor countries adapt to
climate change from 2012-15.

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