UN climate talks like ‘kids’ homework’

2009-12-16 10:30

GETTING the world to agree a new United Nations climate deal is as

difficult as forcing schoolchildren to do their homework or to make horses

drink, hosts of deadlocked UN talks said.

The underlying problem in reaching a unanimous agreement among 192

nations was the diverging interests of nations ranging from Pacific island

states that fear rising sea levels to Opec oil producers worried by a loss of

export earnings.

“It’s just like schoolchildren,” said Connie Hedegaard, the Danish

minister presiding at the December 7?-?18 meeting, meant to agree a new UN pact

to combat global warming after two years of negotiations among 192 nations.

“If they have a very long deadline to deliver an exercise they will

wait for the last moment. It’s basically as simple as that,” she said,

predicting a deal at the end on Friday to avert heatwaves, rising sea levels,

mudslides or sandstorms.

“There’s a saying in English that you can lead a horse to water but

you can’t make it drink,” said Yvo de Boer, head of the UN climate change


He said that Hedegaard “has been leading 192 horses to water” since

negotiations began in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007.

More than 110 world

leaders will try to agree a deal in Copenhagen on Friday at a concluding summit.

The talks have to agree by unanimity – meaning each nation has an

effective veto.

So far the talks have little to show with deep splits about the

depth of cuts in emissions by developed nations, the amount of cash needed to

help developing nations and what actions the poor should take to combat warming.

“Why is it so complicated? I’ve put the same question to myself

since I, five years back, attended my first UN conference of the parties,” she


At that meeting in Buenos Aires: “The words were the right ones,

the concerns were the right ones. It seemed that the will was there but the

steps that the world was able to take were much too small,” she said.

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