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Rich and poor countries blame each other for failure of Copenhagen deal

Wealthy nations accused of bullying tactics to get developing countries to sign 'death warrant'

COP15 Bolivian President Morales at a press conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen

Bolivian President Evo Morales said the Copenhagen deal was a failure because of the 'lack of political will by a small group of countries led by the US' Photograph: Bob Strong/Reuters

The blame game over the failure of the Copenhagen climate talks started last night with countries accusing each other of a complete lack of willingness to compromise.

The G77 group of 130 developing nations blamed Obama for "locking the poor into permanent poverty by refusing to reduce US emissions further."

"Today's events are the worst development for climate change in history," said a spokesperson.

Pablo Solon, Bolivian ambassador to the UN, blamed the Danish hosts for convening only a small group of countries to prepare a text to put before world leaders. "This is completely unacceptable. How can it be that 25 to 30 nations cook up an agreement that excludes the majority of the 190 nations."

But rich countries said that developing countries had wasted too much time on "process" rather than the substance of the talks. An epic stand-off over whether to ditch the Kyoto protocol's legal distinctions between developed and developing countries and their obligations to cut their emissions caused a huge delay to the negotiations.

But Martin Khor, director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental think tank for developing countries said, "Developing countries are very disappointed because they've invested a lot of time in the documents they're negotiating here."

Politicians from all corners of the world were blamed widely for not setting ambitious enough targets to counter climate change. "They refused to lead and instead sought to bribe and bully developing nations to sign up to the equivalent of a death warrant. The best outcome now is no deal," said Tim Jones, climate policy officer from the World Development Movement.

China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, blamed a lack of trust between countries: "To meet the climate change challenge, the international community must strengthen confidence, build consensus, make vigorous efforts and enhance co-operation."

But indigenous Bolivian president Evo Morales blamed capitalism and the US. "The meeting has failed. It's unfortunate for the planet. The fault is with the lack of political will by a small group of countries led by the US," he said.

Even veterans of previous environmental negotiations were disappointed. "Given where we started and the expectations for this conference, anything less than a legally binding and agreed outcome falls far short of the mark," said John Ashe, chair of the Kyoto protocol talks.

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Rich and poor countries blame each other for failure of Copenhagen deal

This article was published on at 01.29 GMT on Saturday 19 December 2009.

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  • Oracle1 Oracle1

    19 Dec 2009, 2:28AM

    As usual this article makes a completely bogus distinction between 'rich' and 'poor' countries. When will the media get beyond their fictitious stereotypes?

    The G77 includes nations that should not be termed 'poor' or 'developing' under any definition, such as Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. On the other hand, the supposedly 'rich' nations under Annex 1 includes countries such as Romania and Ukraine, whose GDP per person is smaller than many countries in the G77, such as Chile, Saudia Arabia and Malaysia.

    There needs to be a radical redefinition of 'developing' which is limited to truly impoverished nations such as Africa, Afghanistan, and Haiti, while other relatively wealthy nations such as China, parts of South-East Asia and Latin America need to pull their weight in the world as recently industrialised developed nations.

    It is no surprise that Copenhagen has turned into a money grab by the wealthier G77 nations and an excuse by many of them to do nothing to improve their carbon efficiency, which remains far below that in Europe.

  • B2deuxieme8611K2 B2deuxieme8611K2

    19 Dec 2009, 3:58AM

    Gavin Menzies in his book <<1421 The Year China Discovered The World>>, Bantan Press, 2002, page 406.

    Instead of the cultured Chinese, instructed to 'treat distant people with kindness', it was the cruel, almost barbaric Christians who were the colonizers. Francisco Pizarro gained Peru from the Incas by massarcring five thousand Indians in cold blood. Today he would be considered a war criminal.
    In effect the Portuguese used the Chinese cartography to show them the way to the East. Then they stole the spice trade, which the Indians and the Chinese had spent centuries building. Anyone who might stop them( the Christians,for clarity, added by me ) was mown down. When da Gama reached Calicut he told his men to parade Indian prisoners, then hack off their hands, ears and noses.All the amputated pieces were piled up in a small boat.

    We must learn from HISTORY. I sincerely hope that the Christians (Obama, Brown, Clinton, Sarkozy et al) of today open up their vision and not see climate change as a problem a few inches in front of their nose. Short team financial gains for their countries will 'hack' of the lives, not just the hands, of millions of people in the developing nations !

    Think further afield, For the sake of the planet! For the sake of mankind!!

  • B2deuxieme8611K2 B2deuxieme8611K2

    19 Dec 2009, 4:44AM


    Historically, the US, UK, France and Western European countries were and are still the BIGGEST polluter AND CO2 emitter in the world.
    Count you gadgets in your house and see how many are DESIGNED in USA, Britain, France but Made in China! Biggest polluter and CO2 emitter indeed!!

  • danielwaweru danielwaweru

    19 Dec 2009, 5:21AM

    The fact that you seem to be quoting a fraudulent piece of pseudo-history does not inspire confidence in your ability to conduct reasoned argument. 1421 is a classic example of junk history written for the ignorant masses.

    The fact that you appear to be evading a perfectly comprehensible point doesn't inspire confidence in your ability to conduct reasoned argument. There's pretty good alterative evidence for historical European attitudes to the rest of mankind -- Kiernan's Lords of Humankind has just the right leavening of bemused contempt; Christopher Wilon's The challenge to white supremacy in our British colonies is, perhaps, special interest, but it's more recent and will appeal to those of slightly stronger stomach. Gavin Menzies' book's evidential shortcomings don't show very much about the past.

    The more serious point -- determining historical responsibility for climate change -- is also pretty well established. As you berate China for failing to live up to its responsibilities, perhaps you'll spare a thought for those.

  • SalamKushtia SalamKushtia

    19 Dec 2009, 7:42AM

    As a south Asian I could not go any debate of blaming with each other because, we are living in a same room, if you say our planet is a large room. Climate change problem is the natural phenomenon and which has been raised from past couple of decades. There are several factors are responsible for this climate change. Human activities are one of the reason of that factors. Fail does not mean a great issue. A lot of example of fail are exists in the world. But, finally it has been solved. If we could not get better result from Copenhagen then, another conference to be called in next year leading by US President Barack Obama. We know, win must be sustain through a lot of fail. Thanks. Regards. Engr Salam

  • zavaell zavaell

    19 Dec 2009, 7:53AM

    Whichever way you slice it, Evo Morales is right. The elephant in the room is capitalism because it is, inherently, a competitive philosophy. Profit means that someone else goes under. The US is worried that China or India will overtake it. If leaders of developed countries go to meetings with the selfishness of their citizens embedded under their skins what can we expect. What is desperately needed is a degree of cooperation by sharing technology and returning trade to what it used to be: the exchange of objects not held by the other party.

  • B2deuxieme8611K2 B2deuxieme8611K2

    19 Dec 2009, 9:01AM

    Being one of the ignorant masses, TY oracle 1 (@4:06AM) for pointing out my inability. But merci to danielwaweru (@5:21AM), I'm going to instruct myself with:-

    Kiernan's Lords of Humankind, and

    Christopher Wilon's The challenge to white supremacy in our British colonies.

    Being ignorant ... I rest my case.

  • ThomasGoodey ThomasGoodey

    19 Dec 2009, 11:28AM

    See what a corner the thermoalarmists talked themselves into? The only rational deduction (read, lunatic extremist deduction) from their arguments is that all the rich nations should immediately give most of their riches to the poor nations, and thereafter we should all live happily together back in the Stone Age. But actually none of us are going to do any of this... so.... ? what? So nothing. Get back to living and business as usual, and drop all this idiocy.

  • infinitussollux infinitussollux

    19 Dec 2009, 11:41AM

    At times like this one wonders if indeed we are an intelligent species. I think we are clearly on the road of self-destruction and nothing will be done about climate change until every tree has been sold for profit and we're choking on noxious fumes.

  • observer5 observer5

    19 Dec 2009, 11:55AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • observer5 observer5

    19 Dec 2009, 11:57AM

    This comment has been removed by a moderator. Replies may also be deleted.
  • Longmoor66 Longmoor66

    19 Dec 2009, 12:02PM

    As the whole rotten edifice rests on carbon trading, to the delight of the financial - er - 'services' sector, you can see why it's going nowhere except to provide another source of bonuses.

  • drprl drprl

    19 Dec 2009, 1:11PM

    How can it be that 25 to 30 nations cook up an agreement that excludes the majority of the 190 nations.

    I suppose because 25 to 30 nations are the main causes of GW and so have the most responsibility to do something about it.

  • PifPaf PifPaf

    19 Dec 2009, 1:38PM

    I suppose because 25 to 30 nations are the main causes of GW and so have the most responsibility to do something about it.

    Great! So what do they do? they get together and decide the other 160 to 165 nations should shoulder the burden. Talk about leading from the front.

  • ganadero ganadero

    19 Dec 2009, 2:38PM

    We are doomed!

    It is the human condition. We will only consider changing when the pain and fear of where we are now is greater than the pain and fear of change (whjat we need to do).

    The largest polluters do not suffer the consequences of their actions. They feel no (or very little) pain and thus will not change.

    This is exacerbated by horse trading corrupt politicians (most are) who's prime objective is look after those who look after those who bankrolled them (usually big and cynical industry for whom saving the planet is simply another marketing tool to increase consumption) and to stay in power. Ensuring that our children and grandchildren have a habitable planet is of little or no interest. (no economic advantage and no votes there).

    The politicians are supported by us the electorate who want to "save the planet" as long as we don't suffer any great inconvenience doing so.

    By the time the pain is sufficiently great to bring about change it will be too late. So the planet will carry one, with a different ecology and without us.

    We as a race, are well and truly fucked.

  • actsnow actsnow

    19 Dec 2009, 5:39PM

    Look at it this way: If this was really about global warming you would think that the activists would be relieved, and even angry to find out that much of the information they've been fed about a warming world has been manufactured and faked. You would take comfort in the fact that the earth is actually cooling, not warming. It would be much like being told that you don't have cancer after all. You would be relieved. But if your true motivation has nothing to do with the environment you wouldn't be so happy. If your true motivation is the destruction of free enterprise and the promotion of socialism and communism you would see these hacked emails and other proof that the global warming scare has been completely manufactured as a threat to your true goals. You would perceive that threat and react strongly against it. Watch the global warming crowd and observe how they're reacting to a cooling earth and evidence of fraud. Not with relief, but with anger. That should tell you a lot.

  • Styxdweller Styxdweller

    19 Dec 2009, 5:51PM

    19 Dec 2009, 7:53AM

    Whichever way you slice it, Evo Morales is right. The elephant in the room is capitalism because it is, inherently, a competitive philosophy. Profit means that someone else goes under.....

    Unadulterated tosh that doesn't deserve a reasoned response. Without competition, nothing happens. And it isn't a zero sum game, "profit means that someone else goes under" is GCSE 'F' grade stuff. Capitalism creates wealth for everyone. Fact. The Guardian cif is the last bastion of Neanderthal Marxists. (well, apart from cultural studies departments at redbrick universities, of course).

  • Novelist Novelist

    19 Dec 2009, 9:24PM

    Don't worry. Jesus and Mohammed will save us all! Just at the last minute GOD will come down and make everything all right. So turn up the central heating, get out a bag of white powder, a couple of cases of Stella, and let's party!

  • Erdington Erdington

    19 Dec 2009, 10:30PM


    Actually there is no need to worry about global warming, because we are already beginning to economize in the use of energy, due to its cost.

    In any event we are just as likely entering the next ice age, since it was only 10,000 years ago since the last one.

    Anyway my Dad told me that an asteroid will soon hit the earth and wipe us out. It must be true, he saw it on TV. Don't worry, be happy.

  • antipodean1 antipodean1

    20 Dec 2009, 3:13AM

    the blame game is pointless; its the future that counts....@Oracle1 makes some excellent points and George Monbiot's recent report commented that the best modern techniques of raprochement, consensus building, problem solving and cooperative decision making were not in evidence. Thats a shame. We need to move on from primitive confrontation and deal with the most important problems the world faces urgently, coherently and intelligently. The process must go on.

  • sickofbillderberg sickofbillderberg

    20 Dec 2009, 11:12AM

    man made global warming is a con!! fact!!
    when you think of the great and good flying from all points of the globe
    to copenhagen, then obama fly's in to get his peace award then back to america then back to copenhagen!!!

    whats the carbon footprint on that then?
    thanks for the do as we say not as we do speech!!

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