9 Dec 2009

NZ consulted over controversial Copenhagen draft

8:39 pm on 9 December 2009

Climate Change Minister Nick Smith has confirmed New Zealand was consulted during the drafting of a Danish compromise deal that has rocked international climate change talks in Copenhagen.

The Guardian newspaper in Britain has published the full text, saying the secret agreement was worked on by a group understood to include the United States, Australia, Britain and Denmark.

The newspaper says it was finalised in the last two days.

The draft has been described as a dangerous document for developing countries. Environmental campaigners say it's too lenient on rich countries and does not offer developing nations enough money to cope with rising temperatures.

Dr Smith says he wouldn't give the proposal too much weight as it's just one of a number of documents being discussed.

"New Zealand was consulted about this document. Quite clearly, if we are to make progress, there are going to need to be papers distributed amongst delegates, and New Zealand is very keen that Copenhagen is successful."

The director of Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies, Jonathan Boston, says the document should be taken very seriously because it reflects two years of negotiations by Danish leaders.

Professor Boston says he expects a final agreement signed at the end of the talks will contain many elements of the leaked draft.

He says the document may help break a log jam in the negotiations.

Other reactions divided

Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth says proposals for rich countries to pay developing nations to cut emissions are not what is needed, and rich countries must cut their own emissions by at least 40%.

Spokesperson Assat Rahman says there's little in the proposal Friends of the Earth could support.

Oxfam New Zealand says many developing countries were dismayed when they heard about the draft agreement.

But the charity's Barry Coates, who is in Copenhagen, says it does have some positive spin-offs.

He says suddenly it was possible to see the likely shape of the whole Copenhagen process.

Other blocs at the summit are expected to release their own texts in the next few days.