Developing Countries Block U.N. Climate Talks
December 14, 2009 - 9:11 AMChina, India and other developing nations blocked U.N. climate talks on Monday, bringing negotiations to a halt with their demand that rich countries discuss much deeper cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions.
Representatives from developing countries -- a bloc of 135 nations -- said they refused to participate in any working groups at the 192-nation summit until the issue was resolved.
The move was a setback for the c, which were already faltering over long-running disputes between rich and poor nations over emissions cuts and financing for developing countries to deal with climate change.
The dispute came as the conference entered its second week, and only days before over 100 world leaders including President Barack Obama were scheduled to arrive in Copenhagen.
"Nothing is happening at this moment," Zia Hoque Mukta, a delegate from Bangladesh, told The Associated Press. He said developing countries have demanded that conference president Connie Hedegaard bring the industrial nations' emissions targets to the top of the agenda before talks can resume.
Poor countries, supported by China, say Hedegaard had raised suspicion that the conference was likely to kill the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which limited carbon emissions by wealthy countries and imposed penalties for failing to meet those targets.
Poor countries want to extend that treaty because it commits rich nations to emissions cuts but doesn't make any legally binding requirements on developing countries. The United States would never support that, since it balked at signing Kyoto in the first place over concerns that China, India and other major greenhouse gas emitters were not required to take action.
"Trust is a major issue. We have lost faith," in Hedegaard, Mukta said.
An African delegate said developing countries decided to block the negotiations at a meeting hours before the conference was to resume. He was speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was held behind closed doors. He said applause broke out every time China, India or another country supported the proposal to stall the talks.
U.N. climate chief Yvo De Boer said Hedegaard was holding informal consultations with delegates "to get things going."
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said he would arrive in Copenhagen on Tuesday -- two days earlier than previously planned -- in an attempt to inject momentum into the climate talks.
"His view is that these negotiations can't wait until the last minute. He believes that we have learnt the lessons from the G-20, that it takes leadership to get involved and try to pull together what is required as soon as possible," Brown's spokesman Simon Lewis told reporters in London.
Lewis denied that Brown -- facing a national election by June -- was seeking to personal credit if a deal is struck. "He is not seeking to push himself forward, but he has taken a personal view that it is important that, if world leaders can, they should get there early," the spokesman said.
Earlier Monday, British Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said it's up to him and his counterparts in Copenhagen to help bridge that gap between rich and poor countries and "not to leave everything" to the 100 world leaders -- including President Barack Obama -- who start arriving Wednesday.
"There are still difficult issues of process and substance that we have to overcome in the coming days," Miliband said. "Can we get the emission cuts we need? We need higher ambition from others and we will be pushing for that."
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