Copenhagen summit hit by new ‘Danish Text’ leak controversy

Climate Change (image by nattu - Flickr - CC)

We’re only two days into the two week long Copenhagen summit and another controversial document has been leaked that is causing negotiations to falter at this early stage.

Earlier we had the ‘ClimateGate’ scandal in relation to the series of emails that were released by some unknown hackers – emails that pointed to some less than ethical practices on behalf of some of the more prominent climate change scientists.  Today comes words of a new leaked document that is highlighting a prejudice towards richer countries against developing ones.

The so-called ‘Danish Text’, although just an unfinished draft and one of many proposals, was an agreement that had only been viewed by a few countries so far – including the USA and the UK – that seems to indicate that richer countries should be given more allowances when it comes to restricting per capita carbon emissions.  The document allegedly calls for a less restricted target for many richer nations, whilst many smaller developing countries will be required to meet far more stringent targets.

The move has been seen as an unscrupulous attempt for the more powerful global players to have greater control over their carbon-cutting future than developing countries.  If such a proposal were to be put through, it would mean that many developing nations would have their growth stifled by greater restrictions whilst richer countries such as the USA and the UK would be able to get away with considerably less sacrifice.

The leaked draft has been classified as essentially a reversal of the Kyoto protocols that have already been put into place, which put more of an onus on already strongly developed countries to cut back more than ones that are still emerging.

Even though only a draft, the leak has brought a lot of ill-will to the negotiations and will certainly require a great deal of diplomacy and good-will to be shown by richer nations if there is a hope to overcome the damage done by the revelation.  The secret nature of the document also shows a real sense of elitist sentiment on the behalf of many of the world’s more powerful nations.

The summit was seemingly off to a great start, with a real sense of commitment being tabled by the USA under President Obama and a great deal of data released by bodies such as the UK’s Met Office which discredited some of the backlash that had resulted from the ‘ClimateGate’ scandal earlier in the week.  There is certainly going to be a lot of hard work to come over the next two weeks if real progress is to be made, and hopefully this latest setback will cause richer countries to be more humble when it comes to further rounds of talks.

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