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Leaked Danish text ‘A huge and dangerous step in the wrong direction’

Christian Aid is alarmed and profoundly disappointed by the ‘Danish Text’ leaked today at the climate talks in Copenhagen.

‘This leaked text is a huge and dangerous step in the wrong direction,’ says Nelson Muffuh, the organisation’s Senior Climate Advocacy Co-ordinator. ‘It allows the rich world unfairly to shift its responsibility for tackling climate change on to the developing countries which are suffering the worst effects of the crisis and which have done least to cause it.

‘The text, if adopted, would severely undermine poor countries’ right to development. It would also mean that years of international work on how to tackle climate change would have been wasted.’

Mr Muffuh, who is in Copenhagen for the talks, adds: ‘Christian Aid hopes that those who want to maintain the Kyoto Protocol will still prevail in Copenhagen, along with the parent Convention’s critically important distinction between developed and developing countries.’

Mr Muffuh also made the following more detailed observations about the content of the Danish Text, which was leaked today to The Guardian newspaper:

‘Both the process through which this document has emerged, and its content, are of major concern, not only for developing countries but also for civil society activists. The latter have been calling for an inclusive, transparent process leading to balanced adequate, fair and effective but separate legal outcomes from the two negotiating tracks of the talks .

‘The document itself does not reflect the consultations that the Danish COP Presidency has conducted over the last year in an unbiased and unbalanced manner. It does not answer the question of how equitably to share the emissions cuts that are needed between developed and developing countries. And it shifts the burden of dealing with climate change unfairly onto developing countries.

‘Furthermore, the structure, content and intent of some of the provisions in this document signal the end of the multilateral consensus that climate change should be dealt with in a way that ensures developed countries take the lead in reducing their emissions in a legally robust, adequate and fair manner, while supporting/enabling developing countries to contribute to the global effort. This proposed text blurs the necessary distinction between developing and developed countries responsibilities and efforts.

‘Christian Aid, climate activists and partner organisations from poor countries, as well as developing countries themselves, expect the outcome from the ongoing climate talks to respect the consensus reached at Bali. That was to negotiate a deal in Copenhagen which includes a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol with binding aggregate emissions reductions targets, as well as a comprehensive outcome from the other negotiations track which addresses US action and support to developing countries.’

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For further information and to arrange interviews, please contact Andrew Hogg on (00 45) 40975304 or (00 44) 07872 350 534 / ahogg@christian-aid.org

Or Rachel Baird on (00 45) 40973665 or (00 44) 7545 501 749 / rbaird@christian-aid.org

Notes To Editors:

1. Countdown to Copenhagen is a climate justice campaign instigated by APRODEV, an association of 17 major faith-based development and humanitarian aid organisations in Europe, which work closely with the World Council of Churches. The campaign is now active in 24 countries worldwide. APRODEV members and partner organisations along with members of CIDSE, an international network of 16 Catholic development agencies, have collected more than 250,000 pledges from individuals that they will help save the planet. Taking the pledge included a commitment to reduce personal carbon footprints through recycling, reusing and reducing consumption, as well as an undertaking to write to political leaders pressing for a climate change agreement that is fair to poor countries. The pledges will be handed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change on 13 December in a ceremony at  11.30am in Town Hall Square, Copenhagen.

2. Christian Aid, a member of APRODEV, works in some of the world's poorest communities in nearly 50 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

3. Christian Aid wants rich countries at the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen to commit to at least 40 per cent reductions in carbon emissions by 2020.  It also wants industrialised countries to commit to providing more than 110 billion Euros a year to developing countries, along with technology transfers, to enable them to develop in a low carbon way and adapt to climate change.

4. Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition which represents 11 million members across 100 UK organisations.  All are united in their demand for an end to dirty coal, and a fair and just international climate change deal that protects the worlds’ poorest communities.

5. Climate change is already depriving poor people in many developing countries of their livelihoods.  Christian Aid believes that it must urgently be tackled, in order to help achieve a world free of poverty.  Our new drive, Poverty Over, explains what we believe needs to be done – and can be done – to end global poverty.  Details at www.christianaid.org.uk

6. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_

7. Pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/christian_aid_media


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