Talks on fighting climate change appeared on the brink of collapse in Copenhagen on Thursday as the summit’s Danish presidency gave up efforts to draw up a compromise agreement ahead of the final crucial day of talks.
The move, confirmed by sources close to the presidency, leaves world leaders to thrash out a deal on a series of complex issues on Friday on their own.
“The elements of a deal are out there, but unless we have a process which works, it’s not going to go anywhere,”a European diplomat told the German Press Agency dpa.
Danish negotiators had hoped to present delegates with a draft agreement bringing together all the main details of a final deal covering both developed and developing nations by Wednesday morning.
But a row over the way in which the Danes had prepared their text — and the countries which they had consulted in the process — destroyed those hopes, with key players, including China, condemning the plans.
“This is a multiparty-driven process. You can’t just put forward some text pulled from the sky,” the official Chinese Xinhua news agency quoted chief negotiator Su Wei as saying.
The accusations of unfair dealing provoked a sharp response from rich nations, which warned that the deadlock over procedure was throwing the hoped for agreement into jeopardy.
The talks have seen “an avalanche of procedural interventions ...which is seen to be guided by a single purpose — to prevent the conference from distilling down our areas of disagreement to a manageable list so leaders can decide,” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said.
As tensions grew, officials from the European Union, the world’s richest economic bloc, complained that major developing states had refused even to meet them for overnight talks.
The EU has already offered immediate funding of some 7.2 billion euros ($10.5 billion) over the next three years to help poor countries adapt to climate change, in a bid to convince developing states to sign up to a deal.
Japanese officials on Thursday said that the country was ready to donate $15 billion for the same purpose.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that if people rightly say that we can provide the finance to save our banks from the bankers, we can, with the right financial support, save the planet from those forces that would destroy it.