Dec 09 2009
The Real Message of the Leaked Danish Text
By Nick Mabey
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Nick Mabey was asked to give his expert reaction to the leak of Danish text at at the Copenhagen negotiations. His view (copied below) was made as part of wider comment, available at Guardian’s Copenhagen climate conference coverage.
Climate policy experts respond to outcry over Danish text
Despite anger from developing countries over the leaked document, the negotiations are still on track for success
The leaked Danish text provoked only ritualistic reactions from most developing country governments. This is unsurprising. Many of them had already discussed these ideas directly with the Danes.
The real message of “leakgate” is hopeful. If these negotiations were really doomed to failure then the leak would have been seized on as an opportunity to stall the talks. This did not happen. In fact the head of the G77 group of developing countries explicitly rejected walking out as a response. This means countries are serious about getting a deal at Copenhagen. They do not intend to be distracted by mischievous interventions and leaks, events which will only proliferate as the negotiations progress. Chinese newspapers correctly focused on the inadequacy of the US emission reductions target, not the Danish leak.
The biggest action in Copenhagen today was a dispute between the small island states and the big developing countries over whether China and India should accept legally binding obligations at Copenhagen. This did result in the suspension of negotiations, but because of a dispute over a vital pillar of the climate regime not a newspaper story.
This mature attitude by negotiators bodes well for success at Copenhagen. As the fog of war thickens we all have a responsibility to focus on the issues that really count for people and the planet. Exaggerating differences between countries only benefits those who don’t want an ambitious agreement to be reached at Copenhagen.”
Nick Mabey is the CEO and Founding Director of E3G.