Ed Crooks Copenhagen climate talks: behind the scenes with China and India

After a terrible day in the Copenhagen climate talks on Wednesday, with the negotiations bogged down in procedural wrangling, a rare insight has emerged into the negotiating tactics of China, and India, the two most important developing countries.

A fascinating piece in India’s Business Standard gives a privileged insnight into the co-operation between the two countries.

Pallavi Aiyar of the Business Standard writes that the Indian and Chinese representatives went “into a huddle” over a possible “Danish text”: a draft of a potential agreement prepared by Denmark, which is the host and president of the meetings.

The piece continues:

“The Danish text does exist and we have information that the rich
countries are going to go public with it,” China’s chief climate envoy
Xie Zhenhua told environment minister Jairam Ramesh today at a
closed-door meeting, to which Business Standard had exclusive access.

The Chinese envoy, who is also a Vice Chairman of China’s all-powerful
National Development and Reform Commission, further told Ramesh that
he had got information that Australia and the EU were planning to
launch a surprise attack either late Tuesday evening or early

Indian and Chinese representatives were meeting six times a day, the Indian minister said. The close ontact

underscores the urgency with which BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India
and China) countries are preparing to meet an expected last-minute effort by the industrialised countries to impose a version of the so-called Danish text on them.

The piece continues:

Xie added, “When they present it (the Danish text), we (China and
India) must respond to it in a united way and must get all the G77 to
stand united in opposition because, if the developing world shows
cracks, it will allow the developed countries to shift the
responsibility onto the developing nations, which is what they are

Xie expressed concerns that the Aosis (small island nations) countries
were already leaning towards the Danish text, which sought to impose
emission reduction targets on the emerging economies as well as the
industrialised countries.

The Chinese envoy also revealed that a small ministerial meeting was
to be held on Tuesday evening by the EU and Australia where heads of
states who had already arrived in Copenhagen, such as Australian Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd would be asked to lobby other countries to endorse
the idea of a single treaty to replace rather than extend the Kyoto
Protocol.Ramesh assured the Chinese leader that India was with BASIC
in every way and would “reject any effort to close the two drafts
currently being discussed”.

The punchline was that China and India agreed:

in the event of a breakdown in talks, the Basic
countries would not be to blame.