15 Dec 2009

Climate negotiators under pressure after walkout

10:31 pm on 15 December 2009

UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon is urging negotiators at the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen to reach agreement before heads of state and other leaders arrive later this week.

The ABC reports the conference was thrown into chaos when developing countries walked out of key negotiations for five hours.

Mr Ban says negotiators must redouble their efforts, stop posturing or blaming others and reach a compromise.

The disagreements arise from the two parallel Copenhagen negotiations. One extends the Kyoto Protocol, while the other builds a bigger treaty requiring emissions cuts by China, the United States and India.

The developing nations only returned after winning assurances that the conference will follow the principles of the Kyoto Protocol.

African nations led the walkout, which was backed by the Group of 77 developing countries, including major players such as China, and India.

Their key demand - separate talks on the existing Kyoto Protocol - was met after a boycott of working group sessions for five hours.

The BBC reports developing countries fear they would lose many of the gains they made when the Kyoto agreement was signed in 1997.

A leading negotiator, Lumumba Di-aping, says there is an ever-widening gap between developed and developing nations.

Australia's climate change minister Penny Wong says the move was regrettable, describing it as a protest over process, not a walkout over policy.

After six days of little progress in Copenhagen, the United States climate envoy says the possibility of a deal on climate change hangs in the balance.

Oxfam New Zealand says the talks are deeply lacking in trust.

Danish Prime Minister Connie Hedegaard urged delegates to "get to work" after the delay.

Draft cuts seen as unrealistic

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has rejected emissions targets outlined in draft agreements being negotiated in Copenhagen.

One draft suggests developed countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% - 40% below 1990 levels.

Mr Key says that is an unrealistic target. He says New Zealand is already emitting 24% more greenhouse gases than it did in 1990.

Mr Key says even cutting emissions by a small amount below 1990 levels will be a big challenge.

He told Morning Report that New Zealand will not budge on its target of 10% - 20% below 1990 levels.