Storm over a Danish text

To read or not to read a draft text prepared by the Danish government for adoption at the end of the COP meeting seems to be the dilemma of developing countries. On Tuesday (9 Dec), the UK-based Guardian published the text, which was circulated to selected countries a week ago.

Technically the draft has not been placed on the table and so, as the chief Indian negotiator Shyam Saran says, one cannot read what is not on the table.

Sudan’s Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, chair of the Group of 77 Plus China (developing countries bloc), is more blunt.

“The Danish text is the most dangerous document for developing countries,” he says.

The ire is on several fronts. The first is the manner in which it was drafted, based on consultations with few countries.

Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, G-77 Plus China spokesperson

The second is the content. It blunts the division between developed and developing countries by implying that the latter, too, need emissions targets.

The proposed funds—US$ 10 billion per year from 2010-2012 as quick start money for adaptation – are meagre.  And a reference to “multilateral institutions” to manage a climate fund raises the spectre of World Bank involvement.

There are clauses on technology transfer and associated intellectual property rights issues. “We are greatly disappointed on technology transfer,” says Angelica Navarro, Bolivia’s chief negotiator.  “We need to remove intellectual property rights barriers in such an emergency (climate change). We cannot continue with business as usual scenario with IPR.”

India’s Saran considers the text one of the many papers “floating around”. But was the Danish government innocently flying papers a week ahead of such a major meet?

T. V. Padma, South Asia regional coordinator, SciDev.Net


One Response to Storm over a Danish text

  1. Aubrey Meyer says:

    December 9, 2009

    The ‘draft-document’ the Guardian, reported as ‘leaked’ to them yesterday, spoke of anger from Developing Countries.

    The story said this was because, “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 . . . ” – [“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”].

    If that were true, Developing Countries with justification would be outraged.

    But this ‘interpretation’ is wrong and probably the result of [1] poor presentation by these authors and [2] a tendency for Developing Countries to remain blinded by anger as a result of the last twenty years of ‘poor performance’ all round . . .

    In fact, the words in the draft document * – when converted to numbers – mean that Developed Countries are offering Developing Countries a global-deal based on parity of emissions-limits/entitlements per capita globally by 2050. That is what a global cut of 50% by 2050 inside which an 80% cut by Developed Countries adds up to be. [Relevant text from draft below – relevant GCI material about C&C here: ].

    It has for years gone by the name of contraction and convergence [C&C] [contraction of emissions globally to stabilize the atmosphere concentration of ghg and convergence to the equal per capita sharing of that ‘contraction-event’ globally by a date to be agreed].

    The UK Government’s ‘Climate-Act’ is based on C&C and Chair of the Government’s Climate Change Committee [Lord Adair Turner] told Parliament in Februrary that C&C is the “only basis that is do-able and fair.” He also agreed that, “if, for reasons of urgency the rate of global contraction has to be accelerated, then for reasons of equity the rate of international convergence has to be accelerated relative to that.” [Global C&C examples at faster rates – scan-and-zoom pdf with numbers – can be sent on request].

    The situation created by the poor handling of this draft is a potential repeat-failure that can and must be avoided.

    We have repeatedly advised the UK Government to make their presentation strategy and advocacy of C&C more transparent and UNFCCC-friendly [democratic?] and to invite all Parties *in* by being less prescriptive of and more biddable on the chosen set of C&C rates.

    They have not yet – as this latest affair demonstrates – learned how to do this.

    two current links for our own networked news on this: –


    * Shared Vision for Long-Term Cooperative Action

    3 bullet point two: –

    “Support the goal of a reduction of global annual emissions in 2050 by at least 50 percent versus 1990 annual emissions, equivalent to at least 58 percent versus 2005 annual emissions. The Parties contributions towards the goal should take into account common but different responsibility and respective capabilities and a long term convergence of per capita emissions.”

    Shared Vision for Long-Term Cooperative Action

    7 bullet point one: –

    “The developed country Parties support a goal to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases in aggregate by 80% or more by 2050 versus 1990.”

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