Australian PM says climate talks nearly collapsed
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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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