Before the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen opened, the African delegation had already agreed to leave the conference if their minimum goals were ignored. The secret text agreed by the UK, US, and Denmark leaked on Tuesday December 8, 2009 suggests the decisions have been made before the conference starts.
"The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.
The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.
The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as "the circle of commitment" – but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark – has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalized this week.
The agreement, leaked to the Guardian, is a departure from the Kyoto protocol's principle that rich nations, which have emitted the bulk of the CO2, should take on firm and binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gases, while poorer nations were not compelled to act. The draft hands effective control of climate change finance to the World Bank; would abandon the Kyoto protocol – the only legally binding treaty that the world has on emissions reductions; and would make any money to help poor countries adapt to climate change dependent on them taking a range of actions.
The document was described last night by one senior diplomat as "a very dangerous document for developing countries. It is a fundamental reworking of the UN balance of obligations. It is to be superimposed without discussion on the talks".
A confidential analysis of the text by developing countries also seen by the Guardian shows deep unease over details of the text. In particular, it is understood to:
• Force developing countries to agree to specific emission cuts and measures that were not part of the original UN agreement;
• Divide poor countries further by creating a new category of developing countries called "the most vulnerable";
• Weaken the UN's role in handling climate finance;
• Not allow poor countries to emit more than 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050, while allowing rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes.
Developing countries that have seen the text are understood to be furious that it is being promoted by rich countries without their knowledge and without discussion in the negotiations.
"It is being done in secret. Clearly the intention is to get [Barack] Obama and the leaders of other rich countries to muscle it through when they arrive next week. It effectively is the end of the UN process," said one diplomat, who asked to remain nameless.
Antonio Hill, climate policy adviser for Oxfam International, said: "This is only a draft but it highlights the risk that when the big countries come together, the small ones get hurting. On every count the emission cuts need to be scaled up. It allows too many loopholes and does not suggest anything like the 40% cuts that science is saying is needed."
Hill continued: "It proposes a green fund to be run by a board but the big risk is that it will run by the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility [a partnership of 10 agencies including the World Bank and the UN Environment Programme] and not the UN. That would be a step backwards, and it tries to put constraints on developing countries when none were negotiated in earlier UN climate talks."
The text was intended by Denmark and rich countries to be a working framework, which would be adapted by countries over the next week. It is particularly inflammatory because it sidelines the UN negotiating process and suggests that rich countries are desperate for world leaders to have a text to work from when they arrive next week.
Few numbers or figures are included in the text because these would be filled in later by world leaders. However, it seeks to hold temperature rises to 2C and mentions the sum of $10bn a year to help poor countries adapt to climate change from 2012-15."
Not quite the same shambles as the previous climate change conference in 2007 (see Bali Climate Change conference at http://wahyusamputra.blogspot.com/2008/02/ecologists-will-probably-remember-this.html) but in its way a worthy successor.
"It's an incredibly imbalanced text intended to subvert, absolutely and completely, two years of negotiations. It does not recognize the proposals and the voice of developing countries." Lumumba Stanislaus Dia Ping, the Sudanese ambassador to the Group of 77 developing countries, speaking of a leaked document known as the "Danish text" which proposes measures to keep average global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
"The document, subtitled "The Copenhagen Agreement," has driven an even deeper wedge between rich and poor countries embroiled in UN climate talks in Copenhagen, CNN reports. The UN body hosting the talks has played down the document's importance, stressing that it is an "informal paper" put forward by the Danish prime minister.
"This was an informal paper ahead of the conference given to a number of people for the purposes of consultations. The only formal texts in the UN process are the ones tabled by the Chairs of this Copenhagen conference at the behest of the Parties," said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
"Around 15,000 delegates are meeting daily in Copenhagen as they seek to form a global agreement on climate change. Next week they will be joined by around 100 heads of state to form a final deal, if negotiations in the coming days succeed in closing the gap between rich and poor nations.
"The "Danish text" proposes "developed country parties commit to deliver upfront public financing for 2010-201 corresponding on average to  billion USD annually for early action, capacity building, technology and strengthening adaptation and mitigation readiness in developing countries." The draft text also proposes that the money is distributed by a "Climate Fund" by a board with "balanced representation."
"Charity group Oxfam says the Danish text risked sidelining poorer countries as the world seeks to reduce global carbon emissions. "Like ants in a room full of elephants poor countries are at risk of been squeezed out of the climate talks in Copenhagen," said Antonio Hill, Oxfam International's climate adviser. China also criticized portions of the text that refer to a "peak" year for carbon emissions from developing countries.
"Meanwhile, small island states and poor African nations vulnerable to climate impacts laid out demands for a legally-binding deal tougher than the Kyoto Protocol, the BBC reports. This was opposed by richer developing states such as China, which fear tougher action would curb their growth. Tuvalu demanded - and got - a suspension of negotiations until the issue could be resolved."
Devex International report "Rotting in Denmark."