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Updated: December 17, 2009 16:12 IST

Copenhagen talks on the verge of failure: Kevin Rudd

DPA
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Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin M. Rudd, makes a point as he delivers his speech in the plenary of the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen on Thursday.
AP Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin M. Rudd, makes a point as he delivers his speech in the plenary of the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen on Thursday.

United Nations talks on fighting climate change are “on the verge” of failure because of an obsession with procedural issues, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in Copenhagen on Thursday as he read out a plea from a six-year-old girl.

“I fear a triumph of form over substance. I fear a triumph of inaction over action,” Mr. Rudd told delegates from almost 200 countries.

The Copenhagen talks are set to run until Friday evening and are intended to forge a deal on all aspects of fighting climate change.

But deadlocked continued to rein on Thursday.

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,” Mr. Rudd said.

The Australian premier urged leaders to focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the funding needed for those reductions, emphasising his point with a letter from a six-year-old Australian girl called Gracie he had received before flying to Copenhagen.

“Hi. My name is Gracie. How old are you? I am writing to you because I want you all to be strong in Copenhagen. Please listen to us, as it is our future,” the letter read.

Mr. Rudd concluded, “I fear that at this conference, we are on the verge of letting little Gracie down. And I fear that we are on the verge of letting down all of the little children of this world.”

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