Developing countries return to climate talks

A A A

Developing countries today agreed to resume climate change negotiations in Copenhagen after a half-day suspension.

The G77 group, led by African countries, staged a walkout over accusations that richer countries were seeking to use the UN-sponsored conference to dodge their obligations to cut carbon emissions.



Poorer countries fear that the Copenhagen talks will kill off the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which committed industrialised states to reduce greenhouse gases, with financial penalties for failure.



Their call for an extension of Kyoto is opposed by some industrialised states because the US - the second-largest emitter after China - remains outside the process, having refused to ratify the protocol.



Today's suspension of work came as Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband acknowledged that the 192-nation conference was "not yet on track for the kind of deal we need" and said "more urgency" was needed to solve problems.



Speaking in Copenhagen, Mr Miliband urged delegates to make progress before national leaders arrived later this week.



"I think that the very clear message for negotiators and ministers is we need to get our act together and take action to resolve some of the outstanding issues that we face," he said.



Downing Street announced today that Prime Minister Gordon Brown would fly to the Copenhagen conference tomorrow - two days earlier than planned - to throw his weight behind efforts to reach a deal.



Mr Brown has already identified the need to help developing countries mitigate carbon emissions and adapt to the impact of global warming as one of the key elements to any agreement.



The PM's spokesman today said Mr Brown remained "optimistic" that a political deal could be reached by Friday.



The G77's chief negotiator Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, from Sudan, said that today's walkout was prompted by the failure of the Danish presidency to put industrial nations' emissions targets at the top of the agenda.



Mr Di-Aping told BBC Radio 4's World at One: "We decided to stop and reflect on what is happening, because it had become clear that the Danish presidency - in the most undemocratic fashion - is advancing the interests of developed countries at the expense of the balance of obligations between developing and developed countries.



"What we want is a process that is democratic, that allows us full participation, that ensures the safety and lives of the developing countries in Africa and small island states.



"We want a deal that will save the Kyoto Protocol and we want finance and mitigation targets and commitment periods signed at this conference. If that doesn't happen, I am afraid we can't accept the idea that we are going to create a new legal instrument."



He added: "The EU in particular is pursuing a strategy of killing the Kyoto Protocol, hiding behind the US. Their issue is that they don't want to commit to ambitious targets commensurate to the risk."



Campaigners said that the developing countries were right to focus attention on the issue of carbon cuts in rich-world industrialised states.



Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International, said: "Africa has pulled the emergency cord to avoid a train crash at the end of the week. Poor countries want to see an outcome which guarantees sharp emissions reductions, yet rich countries are trying to delay discussions on the only mechanism we have to deliver this - the Kyoto Protocol.



"This not about blocking the talks - it is about whether rich countries are ready to guarantee action on climate change and the survival of people in Africa and across the world."



Nelson Muffuh, Christian Aid's senior climate change advocacy co-ordinator, said: "Africa has been driven to this by the lack of progress on key substantive issues such as strong mitigation targets, and the lack of offers of financial support from rich countries to poor to help them deal with climate change.



"We need far more robust emission targets from wealthy countries and much more finance."



Following the resumption of talks, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said: "Time is now against us in Copenhagen and we need leadership, not brinkmanship, to secure a deal to save the planet.



"Today's temporary suspension reminds us all of the real risk of failure. We need all countries around the negotiating table at all times to make progress."



Speaking in Copenhagen, Mr Alexander said Britain was "working hard to ensure that a firm and fair deal is on the table when world leaders arrive later this week".



And he added: "We recognise that emerging countries have the right to build up their industries and that the developed world has been the biggest contributor to the emissions which cause global warming. But we will not get an agreement unless everyone - developed and developing - plays their part.



"It is the moral responsibility of everyone round the negotiating table to work relentlessly for a fair, ambitious and effective deal in the hours and days ahead."

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence