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Copenhagen climate failure blamed on ‘Danish text’

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John Vidal
London Guardian
May 31, 2010

Drip by drip, the full story is emerging of last December’s global diplomatic debacle in Copenhagen, when instead of setting the world on a new low carbon path and tackling climate change, 130 world leaders ended up with a weak deal and no prospect of a binding agreement for another 18 months.

The latest revelations come from the man at the very heart of the debacle, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer. Normally the model of a discreet and guarded international bureaucrat, his confidential letter of explanation to his colleagues, written only days after the meeting ended, displays a mix of bemusement, clarity and exasperation. “How could several years of negotiation and high level diplomacy be allowed to end up this way?”, he asks. The letter appears in a new Danish book by journalist Per Meilstrup.

His letter puts the blame squarely on Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen and his presidency of the summit. He identifies the war which had been going on between Rasmussen’s office and Danish climate chief Connie Hedegaard’s team in the energy ministry. Hedegaard stood down halfway through the summit.

The key event, he suggests, was Rasmussen’s draft text. This, known widely as the “Danish text”, was due to be wheeled out just when the talks reached a deadlock, as they were bound to do. The trouble was, implies De Boer, the text was clearly advantageous to the US and the west, would have steamrollered the developing countries, and was presented to a few countries a week before the meeting officially started.

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This article was posted: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 3:55 am

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