Author: Paige Andrews

African nations protest leaked documents: "We will defend ourselves, we will not die in silence!" (Image by: Ruth Brandt )

Chaos has broken out in Copenhagen as delegates respond to leaked documents that reveal what is believed to be a draft of the agreement which will be signed next week by world leaders. This draft text strongly favors rich nations and threatens to sideline the UN’s future role in climate change negotiations.

The document is being referred to as the “Danish text” which has, until now, been secretly worked on by a group called the “circle of commitment”, although rumoured to include the United States, United Kingdom, and Denmark. This text was only revealed to a few countries since its finalization this week.

The leaked documents reveal that these leaders plan to sign an agreement that would essentially abandon the Kyoto protocol’s principle of placing the majority of responsibility of firm target agreements and financing in the hands of the rich nations who are the most responsible for CO2 emissions and would instead hold poor countries accountable to a range of actions in exchange for funding.

The text is understood to contain the following elements: it lessens the UN role in climate finance and handing it, instead, to the Global Environment Facility (GEF); it creates a new category of developing countries to be called “the most vulnerable”, thus dividing the developing block even further; and forcing developing countries to agree to emission cuts alongside developed countries yet would allow rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes of carbon per person in 2050 while limiting poor countries to 1.44 tonnes. While bad news for developing countries, the leaked text reveals that the agreement also seeks to hold temperature rises to the 2C target established by the IPCC and allocate $10billion per year for developing country adaptation during the period of 2012-2015.

The leaked document contains many blanks and areas to be filled in as the text is fleshed out. While considered a draft text, African nations are in an uproar and are now protesting inside the Bella Centre. Many developing countries are interpreting the leaked text as an attempt by rich countries to muscle through an agreement next week when Ministers and Heads of State arrive in Copenhagen without their knowledge, bypassing the UN process.

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