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Poor: Leaked climate text shows West imperialism

By Hilary Whiteman, CNN
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'Danish text' controversy
  • G77 ambassador accuses developed countries of trying to preserve their "supremacy"
  • Comments were in response to leaked climate document known as "Danish text"
  • Document proposes measures to keep average global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius
  • UNFCCC says document was among several circulated in pre-meeting talks last week

(CNN) -- The rift over a leaked draft climate agreement widened Wednesday with an astonishing attack on the West by one of the poor nations' leading climate negotiators.

Lumumba Stanislaus Dia Ping, the Sudanese ambassador to the Group of 77 developing countries, told a news conference that the draft agreement put forward by the Danish government was aimed at "preserving and advancing developed countries' economic dominance and supremacy."

"The Empire has always relentlessly and ruthlessly grabbed natural resources," he said.

"The Danish text and, let me say texts, seek to secure 60 percent of the global atmospheric space for 20 percent of the world's wealthiest nations. It is a scramble and a rush of extraordinary magnitude."

A number of Web sites are linking to the document, which is labeled "The Copenhagen Agreement," but is being widely referred to as the "Danish text."

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It proposes measures to keep average global temperature rises to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The commitments include reducing global annual emissions by at least 50 percent on 1990 levels by 2050.

What is at stake in Copenhagen?

According to the U.N. body hosting the talks, the Danish text was one of a number circulated at informal sessions last week to stimulate discussion before the formal talks.

Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said that Dia Ping himself attended one such session.

"That text and other texts have not been on the table in a formal sense. They were the basis of discussion between a number of countries a week and a day ago and have never been tabled in a formal way," De Boer said.

Climate campaigner and former U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, also sought to play down the document's significance.

"It's not unusual during international negotiations for there to be multiple texts that are floated or leaked. I think it ought to be kept in perspective," Gore said.

"From my point of view the Danish government hosting this conference has done an extraordinary job to try and ensure that the conference and the result turns out well. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the leaked text this early in the process," he added.

The document in question was put forward by the host nation Denmark.

Dia Ping accused the Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen of putting his own political ambitions ahead of a global deal.

"What it says is the prime minister of Denmark is desperate for success at any price. And I think he needs to distinguish two things -- his political career and ambition and the need for a successful deal. A successful deal should be a balanced one and a balanced deal has to be based on what developing countries are asking and what the developed countries are asking," Dia Ping said.

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Earlier, China criticized portions of the text that refer to a "peak" year for carbon emissions from developing countries.

The document says: "The developing countries' individual mitigation action could in aggregate yield a [Y percent] deviation in [2020] from business as usual and yielding their collective emissions peak before [20XX] and decline thereafter."

It is expected the figures represented by X and Y will be added during the course of negotiations.

"It is unfair to set such a peak target for developing countries which are still in the stage of industrialization," said Su Wei, Deputy Head of the Chinese climate delegation.

The text also proposes "developed country parties commit to deliver upfront public financing for 2010-201[2] corresponding on average to [10] billion USD annually for early action, capacity building, technology and strengthening adaptation and mitigation readiness in developing countries."

It also suggests that the money is distributed via 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 being squeezed out of the climate talks in Copenhagen," said Antonio Hill, Oxfam International's climate adviser.

He said an alternative proposal from China and other emerging economies offered a more "balanced vision," adding it "also needs significant work if it is going to serve the needs of the world's poorest people and prevent a climate catastrophe."

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.