Saturday, December 12, 2009

"Copenhagen 'not on track to save planet'"

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Australia has formally warned the Copenhagen climate summit that negotiations to save the planet are not on track.

There are six days left before world leaders are supposed to seal a deal to tackle climate change.

At the summit's halfway mark, Australia's climate change ambassador Louise Hand has announced that things are not going well.

"Australia is seriously concerned by existing gulfs on those issues essential for a deal," Ms Hand told the summit on Saturday.

"We are currently not on a path to deliver the environmental outcome we need."

Australia is worried about an official UN draft treaty, which would force rich countries to cut emissions quickly while being more lenient on developing countries like China.

Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, who is in Copenhagen, reiterated on Saturday that the draft "isn't good enough".

She called for politicians to step in and save the talks.

Last week, negotiators held the floor, but more than 50 ministers have now arrived at the summit and will take over the process from Sunday.

World leaders are due to fly in on Tuesday and Wednesday.

"We absolutely need political ownership, political accountability," Senator Wong told reporters on Saturday.

Senator Wong said the big problems in the talks were the targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, how to verify that countries made good on their climate promises, and how to finance poorer countries to tackle global warming.

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