Australian PM says climate talks nearly collapsed

Last Updated: Saturday, December 19, 2009 - 08:47

Copenhagen: Australian Prime Minister
Kevin Rudd on Saturday praised the very completion of the Copenhagen
climate summit as progress, saying that the talks had hovered
near collapse.

Rudd, who has made climate change a signature issue at
home, said he recalled seven times in the final stretch when
the 194-nation summit could have broken up in disarray.

"There was a grave risk that these negotiations would
collapse altogether and we would have had a triumph of
inaction over action," Rudd told reporters.

"Instead we had a result that underpins action. That
represents substantial progress," Rudd said.

He said the summit provided the greatest consensus yet
on the need to stop the planet from heating up two degrees
Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

"The test that I`ve applied is what was before and
what was after," Rudd said of agreements on climate change.

Rudd, who has closely aligned himself with President
Barack Obama, praised the US leader for helping break impasses
in the negotiations.

At key moments, "the president of the United States
walks in, rolls up his sleeves and says, `Okay, let`s have a
go on this,` and you make some progress. That produced a
magical result," Rudd said.

"The attitude taken by various countries in these
negotiations has been particularly hardline," Rudd said, while
declining to name specific nations.


First Published: Saturday, December 19, 2009 - 08:47

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