Disarray in Denmark or unreliable reporting?

The Guardian newspaper has obtained a leaked copy of a draft text of the political agreement that is likely to arrive at the end of the Copenhagen summit. This text is explicitly political and is likely to supplement the actual negotiating text. The paper reports:

The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN’s role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

However the draft text obtained by the Guardian is likely to have changed considerably since it was issued on the 27th of November. Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists described it as ‘a starting point document’ noting that on the 1st and 2nd of December Danish negotiators consulted with representatives of the developed and developing world in Copenhagen. ‘I assume they made pretty extensive revisions to that based on the comments they got and based on inputs from a variety of negotiating blocs’ he said. ‘What they (Denmark) put out early next week or whenever they decide to actually put it out to Ministers will probably be very different to what is on the Guardian website, but who knows, this is in Danish hands.’ With regard to the negotiating text rather than this political text he said ‘My understanding is that they want to make a whole series of decisions next week in the conference of the parties based on the negotiating text as well as this political text.’

Controversially the text contains passages that imply international measurement, reporting and verification of developing country actions and that developing country emissions must peak between now and 2050.

Chinese negotiator Su Wei told a press conference this evening that he hadn’t seen the proposal. He welcomed the idea of a global peak in emissions – presuming of course that developed countries did most of the work, but said that ‘it is too early to talk about a peak concentration year for developing countries.’ He noted that many people who live in developing countries still do not have access to electricity. He also rejected the notion of international measurement, reporting and verification of Chinese emissions.