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An overview of the stories making the French and international newspaper headlines. From Monday to Friday live at 7.20 am and 9.20 am Paris time.

Latest update : 2009-12-23

“China to blame for Copenhagen disaster,” says British environmentalist

INTERNATIONAL PRESS REVIEW: Mark Lynas was present at the final, closed door discussions in Copenhagen and says China is at fault for the lack of a binding accord. “What I saw was profoundly shocking,” he says.

The Guardian provides a fascinating insight into the final, failed moments of Copenhagen negotiations for a binding treaty to limit carbon dioxide emissions. As an advisor to the Maldives, the British journalist and environmentalist Mark Lynas provides the following account (extracts):

“Obama was at the table for several hours along with 50 or 60 people including heads of state…The Chinese premier, Wen Jinbao, did not deign to attend the meetings personally, instead sending a second-tier official in the country’s foreign ministry to sit opposite Obama himself. The diplomatic snub was obvious and brutal. The world’s most powerful heads of state were forced to wait around as the Chinese delegate went off to make telephone calls to his “superiors”.”

“To those who would blame Obama know this: it was China’s representative who insisted that industrialised country targets, previously agreed as an 80% cut by 2050, be taken out of the deal.”

Other heads of state were fuming at China’s position. “Why can’t we even mention our own targets?” demanded a furious Angela Merkel. Australia’s prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone.

“The Chinese delegate said no, and I watched, aghast, as Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point…Now we know why – because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord’s lack of ambition.”

One experienced British analyst concludes that China wants to weaken the climate regulation regime now “in order to avoid the risk that it might be called on to be more ambitious in a few years’ time”.

Lynas says he left Copenhagen more despondent than he has felt in a long time.

Other stories in today’s international papers:


Wall Street Journal
Weather takes further toll on Europe

Daily Sport
The Prince as a Pauper

The Sun
Crown ‘n Out

The Guardian and The Independent
Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

The Independent and The Daily Mail
Giant George, the tallest dog in the world


 

By James CREEDON

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