Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

'Get to work', urges Copenhagen climate summit head

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News, Copenhagen

Giant globe at the Copenhagen summit (Getty Images)
The G77-China bloc is unhappy about moves made by the Danish hosts

The president of the UN climate summit has urged delegates to "get to work" after protests from developing nations forced a suspension of several hours.

Talks resumed late on Monday after the president, Danish minister Connie Hedegaard, addressed some of the developing countries' concerns.

Their key demand - separate talks on the Kyoto Protocol - was met.

Some delegates talked forlornly of the vast amount of negotiating left to be done before the summit concludes.

Earlier, the G77-China bloc, speaking for developing countries, said the Danish hosts had violated democratic process.

THE WEEK AHEAD
Tues 15 Dec - Prince Charles delivers a speech on the dangers of deforestation; UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrives
Weds 16 Dec - Ministerial teams take over negotiations as the high level segment begins
Fri 18 Dec - More than 100 world leaders, including Barack Obama, attend closing session

But Ms Hedegaard, who will take up the new post of EU climate commissioner after this meeting, said she had told developing countries repeatedly that the Kyoto Protocol was not being sidelined.

"They have been assured all the way," she told BBC News.

"Yesterday I met with 48 delegations, the main part of those coming from G77 countries.

"I consulted with them on the way forward today, and I heard no objections. That's why it's a bit surprising that we had to spend almost one day on these procedural issues."

The G77-China bloc negotiates on behalf of 130 countries - ranging from wealthy nations such as Saudi Arabia, to some of the poorest states - in the UN climate negotiations.

CLIMATE CHANGE GLOSSARY

Blocs representing poor countries vulnerable to climate change have been adamant that rich nations must commit to emission cuts beyond 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol.

But the EU and the developed world in general has promoted the idea of an entirely new agreement, replacing the protocol.

Developing countries fear they would lose many of the gains they made when the Kyoto agreement was signed in 1997.

They have been arguing for a "twin track" approach, whereby countries with existing targets under the Kyoto Protocol (all developed nations except the US) stay under that umbrella, with the US and major developing economies making their carbon pledges under a new protocol.

The chairman of the G77-China delegation here, Sudanese diplomat Lumumba Di-Aping, suggested that the Danes' decision to lump together informal consultations on both tracks in a single session amounted to bias.

"It has become clear that the Danish presidency - in the most undemocratic fashion - is advancing the interests of the developed countries at the expense of the balance of obligations between developed and developing countries," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme.

US-LED COPENHAGEN DEAL

  • No reference to legally binding agreement
  • Recognises the need to limit global temperatures rising no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels
  • Developed countries to "set a goal of mobilising jointly $100bn a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries"
  • On transparency: Emerging nations monitor own efforts and report to UN every two years. Some international checks
  • No detailed framework on carbon markets - "various approaches" will be pursued
Updated: 13:47 GMT, 19 December

"The mistake they are doing now has reached levels that cannot be acceptable from a president who is supposed to be acting and shepherding the process on behalf of all parties."

Last week, the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu forced a suspension after insisting that proposals to amend the UN climate convention and Kyoto Protocol be debated in full.

Kim Carstensen, director of the global climate initiative with environment group WWF, said that much more movement was needed on the Kyoto Protocol negotiations here.

"The point is being made very loudly that African countries and the wider G77 bloc will not accept non-action on the Kyoto Protocol, and they're really afraid that a deal has been stitched up behind their backs," he told BBC News.

Climate protester at the Copenhagen summit (Getty Images)
Some developing nations are wary of the way negotiations are progressing

Some delegates suggested that the suspension, and the underlying tensions to which is speaks, bode ill for the chances of any meaningful agreement here.

One long-time observer used the word "farce" to describe a situation where governments agreed two years ago to work on a new global deal here, but with less than a week to go before that deal is supposed to be agreed, have still to agree even the basic outline and basic aims.

Heads of state and government will shortly arrive for the final segment of talks that are due to finish on Friday.



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