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China, India helped draft controversial 'Copenhagen Agreement,' insider says

A person with deep knowledge of the negotiations says many developing countries knew in advance about the climate-change provisions they now are publicly protesting.

December 10, 2009|By Jim Tankersley
  • Smoke rises from cooling towers at a coal-fired power plant in Kaifeng, in central China's Henan province. China, India and other developing countries have long resisted including any binding developing-world emissions reductions in a climate agreement.
Smoke rises from cooling towers at a coal-fired power plant in Kaifeng,… (Associated Press )

Reporting from Copenhagen — In public at least, the early days of the climate summit here have been dominated by developing nations' furor over a proposed " Copenhagen Agreement" that leaked to environmentalists and reporters Tuesday.

But many developing nations -- including China and India -- in fact had a hand in drafting the "Danish text," a person with deep knowledge of the negotiations said today.

Developing countries including China, India, Brazil, Algeria, Ethiopia and Bangladesh had "input into the process and product" of the proposed agreement, the source said.

Representatives of those nations knew about the agreement's most controversial provisions, including commitments for greenhouse gas reductions by developing countries and a reduced role for the United Nations in climate policy, well before the summit began. It was unclear if everyone in the room agreed to every provision.

The proposal sparked breathless global news coverage; loud protests in the Bella Center here, where negotiators are gathered; and a run of outraged news conferences, all from poor nations and nonprofit groups that work closely with them, which complained that the draft provisions would penalize developing nations to the benefit of wealthy countries such as the United States and Denmark.

The Danish text "robs developing countries of their just and equitable and fair share of the atmospheric space," Lumumba Di-Aping, the Sudanese chairman of a coalition of developing nations and China, told reporters this week.

The World Wildlife Fund's Kim Carstensen said the text "reflects a too elitist, selective and nontransparent approach."

Summit leaders have called the proposal informal and one of several drafts circulating among negotiators.

Though they have pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas output as a share of their economies, China, India and other developing countries have long resisted including any binding developing-world emissions reductions in a climate agreement.

One of the goals for wealthy-nation negotiators in Copenhagen is to find a way to include developing-nation reduction targets in an agreement with some level of formality -- and the "Danish text" appears to make a first attempt at that compromise language.

jtankersley@latimes.com

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