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The president of the UN climate summit has urged delegates to "get to work" after protests from developing nations forced a suspension of several hours.

Talks resumed late on Monday after the president, Danish minister Connie Hedegaard, addressed some of the developing countries' concerns.

Their key demand - separate talks on the Kyoto Protocol - was met.

Some delegates talked forlornly of the vast amount of negotiating left to be done before the summit concludes.

Earlier, the G77-China bloc, speaking for developing countries, said the Danish hosts had violated democratic process.

But Ms Hedegaard, who will take up the new post of EU climate commissioner after this meeting, said she had told developing countries repeatedly that the Kyoto Protocol was not being sidelined.

"They have been assured all the way," she told BBC News.

"Yesterday I met with 48 delegations, the main part of those coming from G77 countries.

"I consulted with them on the way forward today, and I heard no objections. That's why it's a bit surprising that we had to spend almost one day on these procedural issues."

The G77-China bloc negotiates on behalf of 130 countries - ranging from wealthy nations such as Saudi Arabia, to some of the poorest states - in the UN climate negotiations.

Blocs representing poor countries vulnerable to climate change have been adamant that rich nations must commit to emission cuts beyond 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol.

But the EU and the developed world in general has promoted the idea of an entirely new agreement, replacing the protocol.

Developing countries fear they would lose many of the gains they made when the Kyoto agreement was signed in 1997.

They have been arguing for a "twin track" approach, whereby countries with existing targets under the Kyoto Protocol (all developed nations except the US) stay under that umbrella, with the US and major developing economies making their carbon pledges under a new protocol.

The chairman of the G77-China delegation here, Sudanese diplomat Lumumba Di-Aping, suggested that the Danes' decision to lump together informal consultations on both tracks in a single session amounted to bias.

"It has become clear that the Danish presidency - in the most undemocratic fashion - is advancing the interests of the developed countries at the expense of the balance of obligations between developed and developing countries," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme.

"The mistake they are doing now has reached levels that cannot be acceptable from a president who is supposed to be acting and shepherding the process on behalf of all parties."

Last week, the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu forced a suspension after insisting that proposals to amend the UN climate convention and Kyoto Protocol be debated in full.

Kim Carstensen, director of the global climate initiative with environment group WWF, said that much more movement was needed on the Kyoto Protocol negotiations here.

"The point is being made very loudly that African countries and the wider G77 bloc will not accept non-action on the Kyoto Protocol, and they're really afraid that a deal has been stitched up behind their backs," he told BBC News.

Some delegates suggested that the suspension, and the underlying tensions to which is speaks, bode ill for the chances of any meaningful agreement here.

One long-time observer used the word "farce" to describe a situation where governments agreed two years ago to work on a new global deal here, but with less than a week to go before that deal is supposed to be agreed, have still to agree even the basic outline and basic aims.

Heads of state and government will shortly arrive for the final segment of talks that are due to finish on Friday.

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Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Dec-16-2009)   Web site
Good points, William.
Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Dec-16-2009)   Web site

It seems strange to accuse 130 countries, 68% of the 192 invited, of blocking agreement. Surely they should be the ones driving the agreement.

And their concerns seem legitimate. Kyoto took so many years to negotiate, it should probably be built upon rather than discarded.

Many poor countries are angry at Mr Ban's instruction that all should work toward a deal limiting climate change to two degrees centigrate. Two degrees would give the world a 50-50 chance of avoiding runaway global warming, some scientists suggest. Would you board a plane if you had just a 50-50 chance? If you depended on an Andean glacier, marginal farmland on the edge of the Sahara or a Pacific coral reef for your survival, would two degrees be acceptable?

It must be hard for the Danes to be even-handed - they have their own interests plus the interests of their EU partners to consider - but the poor should be listened to in this debate, I believe. They make up a majority of the worl'd people, have the most to lose if climate change accellerates and are the least to blame for causing it.
Comment by:  PT (David Alexander) (Dec-15-2009)   Web site

More bickering... it reminds me of the wise old story from India. A man is wounded with a poisonous arrow, which needs to be quickly removed. A doctor is nearby and is ready to do the job, but the man insists on first debating what caste the shooter came from, who he (she?) might be, what type of wood was used in the arrow, the family background of the doctor, and so on.

You must imagine the possible endings of the story for yourself.

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About contributor Member: PT (David Alexander) PT (David Alexander)
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Member: PT (David Alexander) My lifelong pursuit, since age 18, has been to live more fully and find wisdom. This has involved studies with Zen masters, Tai Chi masters, and great psychotherapists while achieving my license as a gestalt therapist and psychoanalyst.

Along the way, I became aware of how the planet is under great stress due to the driven nature of human activity on this planet.

I believe that the advancement of human well-being will reduce societies addictive behaviors, and will thus also help preserve the environment and perhaps slow down the effects of global warming and other major threats to the health of human societies.

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