Developing countries forge climate pact

A clutch of major emerging economies including China and India have forged a united front to put pressure on developed countries at next month’s climate-change negotiations in Copenhagen.

Over two days of quietly arranged talks in Beijing, the countries said they had reached agreement on major issues, including the need for the West to provide finance and technology to help developing nations combat global warming.

The meeting was attended by senior officials from China, India, Brazil and South Africa as well as Sudan, the current chair of the Group of 77 developing countries.

”The purpose of the meeting was to prepare for and contribute to a positive, ambitious and equitable outcome in Copenhagen,” according to a statement released after the talks, which took place on Friday evening and Saturday.

”We believe that this work represents a good starting point and we will continue to work together over the next few days and weeks as our contribution towards a consensus in Copenhagen,” the statement said.

The meeting in Copenhagen was supposed to yield the outlines of a broader and tougher legally binding climate agreement to expand or replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012.

But the troubled negotiations launched two years ago in Bali have failed to bridge the divide between rich and poor nations on efforts to curb emissions, how to measure and report them and who should pay.

Talks host Denmark and a number of rich nations have instead backed a plan to seal a comprehensive political deal at Copenhagen and agree the legally binding details in 2010. But some developing nations are demanding a stronger outcome.

The Beijing statement said the Kyoto Protocol should remain in force, with rich countries taking responsibility to cut emissions in accordance with the protocol’s second commitment period from 2013.

Developing economies in return would pledge to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions.

The participants, who included Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, worked off a 10-page draft negotiation strategy outlined personally by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, the Hindustan Times reported.

The Indian newspaper said that Beijing’s top climate negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, would present the strategy in Copenhagen on Tuesday. – Reuters

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