Victory for developing nations as Copenhagen negotiations break through deadlock and will move forward on a two-track basis which maintains the integrity of the Kyoto protocol. Developed nations have abandoned an attempt to kill off the Kyoto protocol in a last-gasp effort to salvage a deal at the climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Negotiations have been deadlocked for a week as developing countries resisted efforts to replace or downgrade the 1997 protocol, which places legally binding commitments on rich — but not poor — nations.

Now, less than a day before more than 115 world leaders take over the reins, the chair of the talks gave up an attempt to ram through a “Danish text”, leaked to the Guardian last week, which would have ended Kyoto. In a victory for the developing world, negotiators will now move forward on a two—track basis, one part of which maintains the integrity of Kyoto.

Hillary Clinton gave a further boost to the flagging negotiations by pledging U.S. involvement in the $100bn a year international fund to help poor nations adapt to climate change. The Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, also gave ground by saying his country would accept tighter international monitoring of greenhouse gases, following China’s indication yesterday that it had softened its opposition to an inspection regime.

Huge differences persist

But huge differences remain over levels of emissions cuts, financing and monitoring. The chaotic end game to the negotiations could mean that world leaders only have time to hastily paper over a face—saving agreement.

The impasse over the Kyoto protocol stems from its status as the only legally binding agreement on climate change, requiring industrialised nations — but not developing nations — to cut their emissions. Rich nations want a fresh treaty, arguing the world has changed and the major emerging economies such and China and India must commit to curbing their huge and fast growing national emissions. But the developing nations argue that rich nations grew wealthy by polluting the atmosphere and must take primary responsibility for it, which can only be guaranteed by Kyoto.

“Very nervous, disappointed”

The Maldives president, Mohamed Nasheed, whose island country could be almost entirely submerged by rising seas, said he was staring at failure.

“We will not have a draft. There is no draft. We are facing a situation where it is possible that nothing comes out of [Copenhagen] unless the heads of state decide to come up with it themselves,” Nasheed told an NGO meeting last night. “I am very nervous and very disappointed.

During the course of the past two years, negotiators were supposed to have come up with a document for us to see and consider tomorrow, but they have failed,” said Mr. Nasheed.

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