Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • French teenage girls held over Syria jihad plans

    Read more

  • ‘European GPS’ satellites launched into wrong orbit

    Read more

  • Merkel in Kiev as aid convoy ‘returns to Russia’

    Read more

  • France will not be 'be pushed around' by Germany

    Read more

  • Suicide bomber targets Iraq intelligence HQ in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Video: Israel bombs kidnapping suspect’s home

    Read more

  • US brands journalist’s beheading a ‘terrorist attack’

    Read more

  • Ebola prompts Philippines to recall UN troops in Liberia

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • US sued over ‘deportation mill’ in New Mexico

    Read more

  • Colombian army and FARC rebels in face-to-face talks

    Read more

  • US National Guard starts to pull out of embattled Ferguson

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • US job market yet to recover from recession, says Fed Chair

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Earth

Talks 'suspended' after African countries stage walkout

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-14

Negotiations at a critical UN climate summit in Copenhagen have stalled after African nations backed by the G77 group of developing countries walked out of the session, accusing rich countries of trying to kill the existing UN Kyoto Protocol.

AFP - The UN climate summit hit major turbulence Monday when developing nations walked out of key negotiations and China accused the West of trickery, as the spectre of failure loomed heavily over Copenhagen.

As campaigners warned negotiators had five days to avert climate chaos, ministers acknowledged they had to start making giant strides before the arrival of 120 heads of state for the summit's climax on Friday.

Sources said the developing countries walked out of working groups at the start of the second week of negotiations here, angered that in their view the conference was weakening in support for the Kyoto Protocol, the core emissions-curbing treaty.

"They have walked out, I am advised, of the working groups," one Western minister told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"This is salvageable," the minister added. "It depends if people want to be constructive."

The move was unleashed by African countries, with the support of the G77 group of developing countries.

They refused to continue negotiations unless talks on a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol were given priority over broader discussions on a "long-term vision" for cooperative action on climate change.

The Kyoto Protocol ties the rich countries -- but not developing countries -- that have ratified it to binding emissions curbs.

It does not include the United States, which says the Protocol is unfair as the binding targets do not apply to developing giants that are already huge emitters of greenhouse gases. A first round of pledges under Kyoto expires at the end of 2012, and poorer nations are seeking a seven-year commitment period.

"Africa has pulled the emergency cord to avoid a train crash at the end of the week," said Jeremy Hobbs, executive director of Oxfam International.

The walkout delivered another blow to the summit which has already been marred by spats between China and the United States.

A top Western negotiator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a round-table session of around 50 environment ministers Sunday had been soured by "growing tensions between the Americans and Chinese".

"At the back of everyone's mind is the fear of a repeat of the awful scenario in The Hague," she told AFP, referring to a climate conference in 2000 on completing the rulebook for Kyoto that broke up angrily without agreement.

In an apparent concession, China said it might not take a share of any Western funding for emerging nations to fight climate change.

But in a pointer to the tensions backstage, Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said China would not be the fall guy if there were a fiasco.

Follow the Copenhagen Conference online
"I know people will say if there is no deal that China is to blame. This is a trick played by the developed countries. They have to look at their own position and can't use China as an excuse," he told the Financial Times.

Britain's climate minister, Ed Miliband, urged negotiators to work faster to break the deadlock.

"Leaders always have a very important role in this. But frankly it's also up to negotiators and ministers not to leave everything up to the leaders, but to get our act together," he said.

The UN's climate pointman Yvo de Boer said the talks had made ground in the first week and insisted progress would become smoother.

"Where are we on the journey up the mountain? I think we are about halfway, I think we are queuing up for the cable car and the rest of the ride is going to be fast, smooth and relaxing," he quipped.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose country is the industrialised world's biggest per-capita polluter, fretted at the possibility of failure.

"There's a big risk that we will have conflicting views between developed and developing countries," Rudd said in Australia. "And there is always a risk of failure here."

Campaigners were even blunter, with Greenpeace saying the summit had five days "to avert climate chaos" and emissions targets so far offered by Western leaders such as US President Barack Obama amounted to "peanuts".

The gathering's daunting goal is to tame greenhouse gases -- the invisible by-product derived mainly from the burning of coal, oil and gas that traps the Sun's heat and warms the atmosphere.

Scientists say that without dramatic action within the next decade, Earth will be on course for warming that will inflict drought, flood, storms and rising sea levels, translating into hunger and misery for many millions.

The stakes were underlined when a new UN report said that some 58 million people have been affected by 245 natural calamities so far this year, more than 90 percent of them weather events amplified by climate change.

And a study from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an intergovernmental group, said climate change threatens the survival of dozens of animal species from the emperor penguin to Australian koalas.

Date created : 2009-12-14

  • COPENHAGEN SUMMIT

    China repeals demand for developed world to fund action on climate

    Read more

  • Copenhagen: A crucial summit

    Read more

COMMENT(S)