Deadlock on climate draft as PM leaves for Copenhagen

Climate talks were in chaos as host Denmark announced it would present two texts which India questioned.

Zeenews Bureau

Copenhagen: The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference appears to be in limbo as its president resigned before announcing the host country would unilaterally present two texts for consideration, inviting condemnation form all concerned including India. The Danish president of the UN climate conference, Connie Hedegaard, has resigned and will be replaced by the Danish Prime Minister as head of the historic talks.

There have been reports about simmering tensions between the office of the PM and the minister over the proceedings in the ongoing meetings.

The change was announced as the 193-nation conference enters into a higher phase of negotiations, with world leaders arriving.
"With so many heads of state and government having arrived it`s appropriate that the Prime Minister of Denmark presides," Hedegaard told the 193-nation meeting.

"However, the Prime Minister has appointed me as his special representative and I will thus continue to negotiate the...outcome with my colleagues," she said.

She said the move was procedural. Separately, Hedegaard has been criticized by African nations for favoring rich nations in the negotiations. She has been accused by the developing countries of wrongly shaping the draft.

UN climate chief Yvo de Boer says Hedegaard will continue to lead informal talks but Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen will now be the formal head of the conference.
The development has been interpreted by those in Copenhagen to be a failure of the talks as Heads of States have begun arriving and there is no draft they could sign on.

Before stepping down, she said the Danish Presidency will present "two texts" prepared by it will present "two texts" prepared by it,
stunning several countries, including India, who said the move
was against the "essence of multilateralism".

"We have been told by the COP chair that a text has been
prepared by the COP Presidency. On what basis?," asked Vijai
Sharma, India`s Environment Secretary, demanding "inclusivity,
transparency" and the "essence of multilateralism".

"I have not distributed the text so far," Rasmussen said
in response to several angry interjections.

"Your observations do not address the transparency of the
process and the fate of the text on which we have been working
till seven in the morning," Sharma said.

He said the negotiators wanted to protect their texts and
the actions had not been take in good faith.

The overall Climate negotiations are moving under two
tracks -– the first track is LCA under Bali Action Plan that
requires parties to produce a legally binding treaty before
the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends in

Bella Centre, the venue of the talks, witnessed some
dramatic moments as some protesters, chanting "climate justice
now", rushed to the podium after a speech by Senegal President
Abdoulaye Wade.

The second track is the extension of the Kyoto Protocol
into the second commitment period from 2013 to 2018 where
developed countries will have to take binding cuts.

Several delegates voiced concern that the "process" was
constantly shifting from a "party driven" to a "top down"
approach leading to text that had not been decided by the

Others said that it was playing with the procedures of
how a COP is conducted.

Several developed countries including Australia, the
European Union and the United States accused that the G77 and
China were slowing down the negotiations because of their
insistence on "process."

In New Delhi, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao made it
clear that India would neither agree to legally binding
emission cuts nor a peaking year for its carbon emissions. Any
international review of voluntary and domestically-funded
mitigation actions would also be unacceptable, she said.

Rao gave enough hints that the climate talks would
continue beyond Copenhagen and an agreement may be within
reach before the next climate conference in Mexico in 2010.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, who is leading the
Indian delegation, said, "We have been told that... the
Denmark government will present a draft. We are waiting for
that draft and when it is out, we will let you know whether it
is acceptable or not.

"They have talked about a two-track approach and not a
two text approach. The two track will be shown in a text form.

Only when the text is available, I can make any comment on the
content of the draft. As of now, we have no information about
the content of the draft," he told a TV channel.

Meanwhile, head of NGO Centre for Science and
Environment Sunita Naraian appeared sceptical about the
chances of a deal being sealed in the summit.

"At this moment, the conference cannot achieve any
effective outcome. It is very much now on who can be the blame
be pinned upon. For a long time the hope was that India and
China would be the `fall guys` and that we were the ones who
really not wanting to do anything.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
will travel to Copenhagen tomorrow for the climate talks. Singh is expected to make an intervention at the plenary
of the 15th Conference of Parties on Friday which would be
addressed by Denmark Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen and
UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon.

World leaders, including US President Barack Obama,
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao who left for Copenhagen today, will also be at the plenary where
they would try to reach a political agreement to tackle global

China and the United States -- the world`s two biggest
carbon polluters -- have brushed aside European calls for
concessions on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the
thorniest issue of all at the UN talks.

-PTI inputs