Danish unofficial draft version of UNCCC treaty leaks, G77 reacts sharply

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

On the third day of the two-week Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the leaders of developing countries said that EU and US emissions cuts plans are not enough. After a Danish unofficial draft version of the future treaty leaked, they reacted with a demand of shift of emission cuts to developed world industries.

The host Danish government's draft version of a treaty was published by UK newspaper The Guardian without the government's consent. The draft says that "developing countries, except the least developed which may contribute at their own discretion, commit to nationally appropriate mitigation actions". The quantitative consideration in it is that a 50% emissions cut globally (from 1990 levels) by 2050 should be achieved, with most industrialised nations implementing 80% cuts.

no developing nations are committed to emission cuts

—Kyoto Protocol

Deputy Head of the Chinese delegation Su Wei recalled the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which includes the statement "no developing nations are committed to emission cuts or sharing of funding for mitigation and adaptation in poor parts of the world". Su Wei said, "The EU position cannot be justified. The [Kyoto] protocol among other UNFCCC agreements stipulate clearly what developed and developing countries should do."

In an interview with Politiken, a Danish daily broadsheet newspaper, the Chairman of Group of 77 commented on the event, mentioning the previous Denmark-Africa friendly political relations:

You need to listen to all countries. That’s what democracy is about, and that’s what you have been cheering in Denmark. What Prime Minister [Lars Løkke Rasmussen] does is contrary to the spirit of the developing aid, which Denmark has provided for Africa through many years.

A member of poverty-focused charity, Oxfam, Antonio Hill commented to the BBC, speaking positively about the idea of transferring finance from industrialised to developing countries — to help them curb their emissions and help them protect against the impacts of climate change. Antonio Hill said that otherwise industrialised nations had to offer considerably bigger cuts. Commentators say the G77 block statements are substantially reasonable, since many of emissions sources are geographically located in developing countries, but owned by citizens of developed countries.

Executive secretary of the UNFCCC Yvo de Boer said the document had no weight at the conference:

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.

Head of the global climate initiative World Wide Fund for Nature Kim Carstensen commented on the event, pledging not to to distract to the 'Danish text' and to concentrate on subsequent official actions at Copenhagen:

The behind the scenes negotiations tactics under the Danish Presidency, have been focusing on pleasing the rich and powerful countries rather than serving the majority of states who are demanding a fair and ambitious solution. The Danish Prime Minister´s proposed text is weak and reflects a too elitist, selective and non-transparent approach by the Danish presidency.

We understand and share the frustration of the poor and vulnerable countries. We urge the Danish presidency to change its style and move to a cooperative and listening mode.

We also believe this was one of the political signals sent by COP President Connie Hedegaard in her opening statement yesterday.

Focus on the Danish text right now is a distraction from the negotiations that have just resumed for their final phase in Copenhagen. Talks must focus on the text that has so far been negotiated and not on new texts that are being negotiated in small groups.


  • The 'Danish text' - Draft Copenhagen climate change alternative agreement