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China, India in a huddle over Danish draft

By Pallavi Iyer
December 16, 2009 02:06 IST
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India and China have gone into a huddle over the possible existence of a Danish text, which the rich nations may wield at the climate change talks.

"The Danish text does exist and we have information that the rich countries are going to go public with it," China's chief climate envoy Xie Zhenhua told environment minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday at a closed-door meeting, to which Business Standard had exclusive access.

The Chinese envoy, who is also a Vice Chairman of China's all-powerful National Development and Reform Commission, further told Ramesh that he had got information that Australia and the EU were planning to launch a surprise attack either late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday.

Ramesh, talking about the closeness between India and China at the negotiations, said the two sides were meeting up to six times a day.

Tuesday's meeting took place at Bella Centre, the venue for the COP15 talks, early afternoon and was called on the behest of the Chinese. It underscores the urgency with which BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) countries are preparing to meet an expected last-minute effort by the industrialised countries to impose a version of the so-called Danish text on them.

Xie added, "When they present it (the Danish text), we (China and India) must respond to it in a united way and must get all the G77 to stand united in opposition because, if the developing world shows cracks, it will allow the developed countries to shift the responsibility onto the developing nations, which is what they are planning."

Xie expressed concerns that the Aosis (small island nations) countries were already leaning towards the Danish text, which sought to impose emission reduction targets on the emerging economies as well as the industrialised countries.

The Chinese envoy also revealed that a small ministerial meeting was to be held on Tuesday evening by the EU and Australia where heads of states who had already arrived in Copenhagen, such as Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd would be asked to lobby other countries to endorse the idea of a single treaty to replace rather than extend the Kyoto Protocol.Ramesh assured the Chinese leader that India was with BASIC in every way and would "reject any effort to close the two drafts currently being discussed".

He suggested that the Basic countries make a public announcement to the effect that they would "not accept any text that is not UN Party driven".

Later in the afternoon the Basic countries held a joint press conference in which they reiterated their commitment to a two-track outcome for the talks.

They also agreed that in the event of a breakdown in talks, the Basic countries would not be to blame. The environment ministers of each country outlined the nationally appropriate mitigation actions that they had voluntarily committed to highlighting that these collectively in fact amounted to more than the rich countries had so far pledged. It was now up to the developed countries to put firm numbers on the table, both with regards to emissions uts and financing, they concluded.

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Pallavi Iyer
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Related News: BASIC, China, India, EU, Jairam Ramesh

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