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Showdown in Copenhagen

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The Copenhagen Climate Summit More than 190 countries wanted to save the world climate here in December 2009, but what came out was a poor compromise without specific saving targets. An exclusive live recording now documents, how the leaders negotiated behind the scenes, and how the summit finally failed. It is Friday afternoon, December the 18th 2009. The 25 most important heads of governments are sitting together. Not in the conference hall, but in the small seminar room 'Arne Jakobsen'. At biscuits and mineral water the leaders want to discuss the draft of the climate treaty. German chancellor Merkel calls to hasten. Lars, what are we waiting for? Head of the meeting Lars Lokke Rasmussen finally opens the negotiation poker. And I think we have to now ask for some major objection on the subject. A draft of the climate treaty is on hand oft the heads of the governments, but the two most important placec so far only have one x and one y, specific figures for CO2 reduction targets for 2020 and 2050 are missing. Merkel takes the initiative: 'So we just have to dot it. And if we do not everything today (?), then we have at least to say within 4 weeks. Because we cannot go home and say nice things, but x and y wait since one year or so (?).' But the chinese negotiator He Yafei plays for time: We need to be extra careful to be honest, because we should read line by line, perhaps column by column. We have to do that. Thank you Mr. President. Now the indian representative takes the word. Specific figures for CO2 reduction is what the europeans claim. But India would not be prepared for this. The numbers should be compiled in groups and beeing discussed on the next conference in Mexico. 'We have all been saying, don't prejudge options. Why are we prejudging options? I would like to say, and as far as India is concerned, it is presenting the results of this work in appropiate form, under consideration at the conference of parties at the 16th session.' Chancellor Merkel: 'Then you don't want legally bindings?' Indian rep.: 'Why do you want prejudgements? All along people say ask asians without prejudgements, and now you are prejudging options. This is not fair.' What now becomes clear: Together with China, Brazil and South Africa, India has agreed in the morning on a meeting behinde closed doors on a blockade line. They want to prevent specific saving targets for 2020 and 2050. China, too, makes this clear once again: 'I am surprised to find 2050 is still there. We made our objection very clear this morning.' The Europeans suspect now, that they stand at a loss with their demand. But they keep on fighting. Gordon Brown takes the floor: 'I think it's important to recognize, what we are trying to do here. We are trying to part the emissions by 2020 and 2050 That is the only way we can justify being here And it's the only way we can justify the public money it is to be spent to do so. It's the only way we can justify the search for a treaty. I think it's very important to recognize, that we have to have objectives for 2020 and 2050.' Chancellor Merkel supports her counterpart and suggests a compromise: I think it's a good way and I don' know what the Chinese think about that, but I would like to make an extra offer to the Chinese. If we refer here to the IPCC report, we could also say, that we need a 50 percent reduction with respect to 2050, and a 25 to 40 percent reduction with respect to 2020. Then you would have to take some work (?) and we have to take some work (?). And then we have all our sins and all things what we are doing. So, is that good for China? The response from the chinese representative He Yafei is polite in the tone, but unmistakable. 'Thank you for all this nice suggestions. But we said rather clearly, that a 50 percent reduction cannot be accepted.' The french president Nicolas Sarkozy had enough. In his mother tongue he rails against the chinese blockade. This is unacceptable, and it is not evidence of a willingness to negotiate. The poor countries will not have the resources, the rich countries are going to offer, for only one reason: You are not prepared to stand by the 50 percent compromise. It's about the essence, we must respond to this hypocrisy. Now U.S. Päsident Barrack Obama steps into the discussion. He wants to tell the Chinese that they have to move, too, because otherwise the people in the industrialized countries would not be ready to make sacrifices. 'There is a direct correlation between these issues of carbon targets and commitments and the finance. You can't seperate one from the other. You can't get the financing in the absence of something that tells our people that we are not in this alone.' But, Obama makes clear as well: He will not watch this haggling for very much longer. 'We try to move on and get these other issues resolved. And I'm saying that, confident that, I think China is still desiring an agreement, as we are. And the alternative right now would be a break-down the talks, that I think would be very contraproductive, because Nicloas (Sarkozy) will not stay until tomorrow. I just want you to know. Because all of us obviously have extraordinary important, other business to attend.' But He Yafei can not be put under pressure. On the contrary, he pushes the blame on the industrialized countries: 'I have heared president Sarkozy talking about hypocrisy. I think, I am trying to avoid such words. I'm trying to go with arguments and debate about historical responsibility. People tend to forget where this is from. In the past 200 years of industrialization the developed countries contributed more than 80 percent of emissions. Who have the greatest problem is responsible for the catastrophe we are facing are here perhaps (?). The negotiations finally seem to have plunged into a dead end. It goes back and forth. But none of the two camps makes concessions. And thus the chinese negotiator asks for a break. 'I have a precedual question. I kindly ask for a suspension for two minutes of the presentation. We need some time to advise us.' Lars Rasmusen: 'Yes, we shall all suspend the meeting...' But this meeting will not be continued. Instead China, India, Brazil and South Africa meet secretly in a different room and arrange things withs each other. When suddenly president Obama joins the meeting, they come to an agreement without the Europeans. The summit finally comes to an end. Specific reduction targets are still missing in the contract. A compromise that disappointed not only climate scientists. The chaos-summit of Copenhagen has failed. Now the world puts its hopes onto the next conference in Mexico. And that in Cancun it will not be about blockade and wording, but about our planet. Translation by Rudolf Kipp

Video Details

Duration: 8 minutes and 38 seconds
Country: Germany
Language: English
Views: 116
Posted by: rudolf.kipp on May 4, 2010

Live recording of the final showdoen at the Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009

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