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Draft text reveals rich-poor divisions at Copenhagen

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Draft text reveals rich-poor divisions at Copenhagen

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There are many ways to get your message across at UN climate talks in Copenhagen. Some campaigners even dressed as trees to call for emissions rather than forests to be cut.

But, behind the humour, no one doubts the importance of what is at stake. The aim is to seal a deal to combat rising seas, desertification, floods and cyclones that could devastate economies and ruin the livelihoods of millions.

Yet divisions between rich and poorer countries over a leaked document of preliminary proposals illustrate how difficult reaching agreement will be.

Some are playing down the draft’s importance.

“It has no validity. It is just a piece of paper,” said the European Commission’s Chief Negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger. “The only texts that have validity here are those which people negotiate on.”

But the suggestions from host Denmark have been slammed amid claims the rich West is seeking to put poorer countries at a disadvantage.

As China led calls by developing nations for deeper emissions cuts from the US, Japan and Europe, the document cast a shadow over the day’s talks.

“This is a very serious development, very unfortunate development, a major violation that threatens the success of Copenhagen negotiations,” commented Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, Chairman of the G77 and China bloc.

Before world leaders like Barack Obama arrive, other nations are set to present their own drafts. Whether any of them will turn into the deal that so many desire is still far from certain.

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