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Leaked 'Danish text' overshadows hope in Copenhagen

Yesterday, we had high hopes for Copenhagen. Today, the conference is in disarray.

A draft climate agreement that was leaked to The Guardian is causing a stir on the ground and in the blogosphere. The agreement -- known as the Danish text -- is a secret document that was worked on by a handful of people that includes representatives of the U.S., U.K. and Denmark, according to the Guardian article. It was intended to be a working framework to be adapted by countries over the next week.

The Guardian's analysis claims it weakens the United Nations' role and strengthens the World Bank's role in handling climate finance, creates a new category of "most vulnerable" developing countries and allows rich countries to emit 2.67 tonnes of carbon per person and poor countries 1.44 tonnes of carbon per person by 2050. This is a reversal of the main principle of the Kyoto protocol which excluded smaller countries from curbing greenhouse gas emissions because it would be costly to do so.

It's being criticized for marginalizing the role of developing countries in the negotiation process, with delegates from environmental NGOs calling it undemocratic, elitist and unfair.

"Like ants in a room full of elephants, poor countries are at risk of being squeezed out of the climate talks in Copenhagen," said Antonio Hill of Oxfam International. "As the talks ramp up and the big players put forward their proposals for the deal, it is vitally important that vulnerable countries are part of the debate."

Some delegates have played down the implications of the text. U.S. delegate Jonathan Pershing told reporters that he would be "appalled" if there weren't such a document since it's the delegates' job to bring something to the table.

Another report, report from, quoted Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists saying "What they (Denmark) put out early next week or whenever they decide to actually put it out to Ministers will probably be very different to what is on the Guardian website..."

Rosa Kouri, an environmental scientist and activist who is blogging from Copenhagen with, wrote in an email that the African Youth Climate Coalition had just staged an impromptu demonstration in a corridor. "It's pretty discouraging," she wrote. "Everyone's talking about it." Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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