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Danish PM issues plea for leaders to attend Copenhagen talks

Susan Watts | 14:01 UK time, Thursday, 29 October 2009

With just six weeks to go until the United Nation's Copenhagen conference on climate change, Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen has issued a direct plea to US President Barack Obama to attend the conference.

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Speaking to Newsnight he said:

"Without the presence of heads of state and governments we can't close a deal which can come into immediate effect and can be implemented immediately... It is a direct call to President Obama. But not only to him.

"This isn't just a question about the American position, I feel strong willingness from many leaders, and I have spoken to many in the last couple of weeks, that what we need now is to bring those bilateral talks into one meeting room."

And the shuttle diplomacy is beginning to intensify.

It turns out that the Danish capital itself was the venue for one set of pre-Copenhagen talks, earlier this week.

Newsnight listened in, as cross-party teams of legislators from 16 countries finalised two days of discussions.

The talks were hosted by GLOBE International , one of a number of organisations working to coerce the Copenhagen process into shape, outside of the mainstream political process.

It was a good chance to catch some of the key players.

Parliamentarians from Brazil, Japan, Mexico, the United States and South Africa were among those represented, but it was the Chinese delegation that attracted the most interest.

The team included the architect of China's climate legislation, Congressman Wang Guangtao.

He chairs the Environment & Resources Protection Committee of the National People's Congress, and wrote ground-breaking climate legislation passed in China only this August.

He is also very close to the small team that will eventually negotiate China's position at the Copenhagen Conference.

A global fund to help developing countries switch to low carbon growth and adapt to climate change is the key sticking point ahead of the UN conference.

Mr Wang did not want to talk about specific numbers, saying it was not just about the amount of money on offer, but recognition by rich countries of their responsibility for past emissions.

He also said developed countries must recognise China's obligation to bring millions of its own people out of poverty:

"China has 250 million people living in poverty. Eliminating poverty and problems of survival is something that the Chinese central government and government of all levels are working very hard on.

"While we are trying to solve a massive poverty problem, we also have to tackle climate change... We are being responsible in tackling climate change. China is definitely doing it best under these circumstances."

One goal for the GLOBE forum was that even if everything fails in December, national parliamentarians will at least be better prepared to push for action at home, and with a clearer idea of how far each country might go in international negotiations.

Denmark's Mr Rasmussen spoke at the forum. When we met him he was clearly still worried about the level of finance on offer to the developing world.

He put in a plea to European leaders meeting on Thursday and Friday to finalise their position.

They are said to be about to propose a global sum of around 100bn euros (£90bn) a year, as they prepare their position before meeting negotiators from the rest of the world in Barcelona next week at the last official session before the UN conference itself.

"Finance is the make or break element," Mr Rasmussen told me. "... the European Commission has proposed figures... I think it you look at the top figures proposed by the commission that's the amount we will need...

"I really think that Europe has had a leading role in these negotiations in the last two years, and in order to keep this leadership I simply call on European leaders to agree concrete figures next week."


  • Comment number 1.

    climate change is a means for extracting fees from the public for their existence.
    there is no competition in the carbon market which means those who control the exchange can charge extortionate fees [the costs passed onto the public] to trade it. it costs 50p to trade in the euro but 7 pounds to trade a carbon piece of paper dispensation. and who owns the exchange?

    the public are definitely biting the pillow while others have an orgy with this bogus hocus pocus.

  • Comment number 2.

    At the end of the day Susan if we have to have solar electric panels and batteries - how is the price going to come down and with ease, I mean no forms and application procedure. How is it going to be marketed in an attractive way when people posting on here seem so against even low energy lamps and seem a million miles from agreeing with anything you lot say?

    Also how are the scientists going to produce a 25 year life battery that's affordable? What is the point of spending 1k or 2k on batteries when you will have to replace them in 3 - 5 years ?

    Someone describe to me how it would be economical to use solar electric power for anything other than small applications - laptop, small tv, small lamps and mostly in summer to boot.

  • Comment number 3.

    This whole 'will he/won't he?' thing about Obama lobbing up, or not, all now seems rather... contrived... at best.

    I am erring on him indeed doing so, all cavalry-like, at the last moment. Saved by the... er... presence of a person?

    Which would be fine, except for how simply 'coming' will be treated by a collection of folk, from PM Brown sideways, who seem to trade more these days in how things look vs. how they are or what gets done.

    Pleas can be odd things. I vaguely recall a long while ago some Nordic chap being busted with some drugs at Singapore's Changi airport. So a Queen or somesuch was wheeled out to make a direct plea to Lee Kwan Yew.

    Not sure it helped much.

    ps: Nice jet, dude. I'd have kept it in shot throughout, too. 'Course President O's is bigger, and that's how you get the babes to go on proper dates.

  • Comment number 4.


    ...Someone describe to me how it would be economical to use solar electric power for anything other than small applications..

    see feed in tariff. in germany it generates more power than the whole of uk nuclear.

    the govt [gordon] have blocked every bill to bring in a feed in exchange and the planning system prevents change anyway. those who have the haywain in their heads say solar panels would not be 'in keeping'. but chimneys are?

  • Comment number 5.


    "simply 'coming' will be treated by a collection of folk, from PM Brown sideways, who seem to trade more these days in how things look vs. how they are or what gets done." It's the juvenile way.

    "those who have the haywain in their heads say solar panels would not be 'in keeping'. but chimneys are?" And they love good joinery, as long as it has been thrashed.

    Rocking and weeping - all that's left.

  • Comment number 6.

    Mr. Wang thinks payments by the developed countries should be assessed. China is no longer poor, although many Chinese are. The corruption in China and the Chinese government allows for everything from slavery to open pollution of rivers and lakes by industries, many State owned. China may be at the top of the list of environmental degradation and maybe China should begin by addressing those internal issues. The only resolution is the development of clean alternative fuels. China is moving forward with wind energy in a positive commitment. These suggested bribes to undeveloped countries, most of which will be used to buy arms to maintain corrupt governments is a fools game. The Cap and Trade scheme is simply a revenue generator for governments and will not reduce CO2. When this an other problems are addressed or not addressed because of the economic down-turn, remember the Bankers, the money the stole and turn your anger toward them. Western nations with coal and oil interest have the relationship with those industries as they have with banking so the industries will be dicating what happens not the governments. It will be hard to have political leaders show to an event where they are openly required to dance to the tune played by others.

  • Comment number 7.


    The Copenhagen Globopoly Championship, is about kudos not about climate.
    The Machiavellian movers and shakers saw fit to dub Brown: 'Monetary World Saver' (Lord help us if he believed it). This time they will hail a Climate King, no doubt. But they are far more engaged with apparent success, and faux fixes, than the future of the planet. Egos have never fixed anything but their own reflection - using cosmetics.

  • Comment number 8.

    Jealousies have found fertile soil in the UN for the launch of a retaliation against America.

    From Norway to Gambia, dubious motives will use fear of climate change, and Copenhagen in an attempt to create a new world power.

  • Comment number 9.

    As the number two Co2 generator in Europe what has Brown and Blair done over their twelve years; We are way behind France, Germany, Spain and even Portugal on renewable energy production. We are force to buy French Nuclear power and all government can do is pin its feeble hopes on unproven clean coal. We still cannot get moving on Severn Barrage, lack investment in wave and tidal, and wind is tied up in years of planning and NIMBYs and last UK factory shut down earlier this year. To top it all our second high speed rail link is not due until 2030, what a farce. No strategy or vision.

  • Comment number 10.


    It is only a matter of time before the 9/11 dots become so numerous that they JOIN THEMSELVES UP. It is vital, in the minds of the power-mad, to have a new threat to keep us all in line. Some on here will remember the 'control-all' of: "Don't you know there's a war on?'

    Plus ca change.

  • Comment number 11.

    You and the BBC can no longer refer to yourselves as neutral reporters on environmental issues. You accept without challenge all matters relating to so-called man-made global warming or climate change. Your partiality on this issue, which is still a theory based on dubious computer projections, is shameful.
    The case for anthropogenic global warming is certainly not proven and there is NOT a consensus among scientists. Surely it is your responsibility to investigate, not propagandise.

  • Comment number 12.

    Some say... Great way to have others make a point that seems 'on narrative'.

    And here was me thinking: what happened to the world leader (referred to in the headline) and his private jet?

    Something I wrote?

    3. At 4:01pm on 29 Oct 2009,
    ps: Nice jet, dude. I'd have kept it in shot throughout, too. 'Course President O's is bigger, and that's how you get the babes to go on proper dates.

    But, yes, it's still there, right at the end. Even more footage in fact. Still not sure it sends the best message, mind.

  • Comment number 13.

    i, and most people i know, hope obama goes nowhere near copenhagen. most of you don't realise that signing that treaty is not about climate, it's about control. if your leaders sign that treaty then they are giving up your country's sovereignty. eventually, your flags will fly UNDER the u.n. flag or not at all. sign that treaty and your prosperity, freedom and way of life are doomed. i and my fellow americans will not stand for any infringement on our constitution, our way of life, our right to be free.

  • Comment number 14.

    #13: americanmale

    Apparently you have spent the last year listening to Rush the idiot. The banks own the US. They stold your money, sold the country for greed and own the politicans who were to be making sure this didn't happen, Republicans. Try keeping up with current events outside of your small circle on the radio dial. Hope to see you on the shore, armed of course, to prevent the socialist invasion from the EU. No wonder the US is falling behind.

  • Comment number 15.

    the whole idea of climate change now, having read a lot more about it, - may I cite the st. Paul lecture by Lord Christopher Monckton- and the website which give the real picture, my view is the subject of climate change is complete hocum and the biggest scientific hoax ever perpetrated. bar none. The facts seem to be the climate is cooling!!! How about the medieval warm period???
    I believe there is a strong connection to three organizations here, who are in control of the climate agenda. First, I believe there is tacit agreement amongst the Bilderbergers, and also the trilateral commission and the council for foreign relations as to keeping up this hoax.
    We can see most of the world leaders were at one time invited to the first, and so for the big names in industry. Also, the way the media, continues to promulgate this silly propaganda about climate change, one has to feel the hand of conspiracy here, and one may even start believing carbon taxes and global warming nonsense are means of bringing about a New World Order. As many believe. I would also cite the writings/videos of Jordan Maxwell amongst many others as evidence.
    I implore you listen to the St Pauls lecture by Lord Monckton, one of the most briliant expositions ever on this subject.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ 15

    The fact is that your arguments and most skeptic arguments are and have been easily refuted over and over. "The facts seem to be the climate is cooling!" The last 100 years has seen a global average temp increase of 0.75C and the century before that temps increased by a further 0.6C. 1998 was the hottest year on record, i assume that you believe that because over the last decade temps have stabilized that global warming must have ended. Well they stabilized at unusually high levels. The 10 hottest years on record all occurred in the last 12 years. Climate change takes place over hundreds of years, and you are naive to believe that because the last 10 years were not hotter than 1998, the earth must be cooling.

    It's a sad day when people begin to ignore science because it is inconvenient, after science has done so much for us. The world is changing, either we change and adapt to survive as we have done for millions of years or we cease to be. Humans seem to have taken the stance now that we have reached the peak of existence, so we no longer to adapt to our surroundings but our surroundings have to adapt to us.

  • Comment number 17.

    Dear Mr. Rippon and Ms. Watts,
    RE: Climate Change 2010-2035.
    Radio 4 and Newsnight have recently made a number of statements and predictions about long-term weather. According to John Humphreys on Radio 4 the sun is about to enter a 10 year cooling period. According to Susan Watts:
    1. A 2 c temperature increase above pre-industrial levels is the threshold for dangerous climate change. This is said to be the common opinion of scientists advising the UN.
    2. The Hadley Centre for climate change predicts that temperature, locally in the UK, will rise 2 cent by 2050.
    It is known that CO2 ppm has already risen 40% above pre-industrial levels and climate change scientists claim that global temperatures have already increased significantly since 1760 due to this fact. It follows from these assumptions that the threshold for dangerous climate change will be breached well before 2050, let us say by 2035.
    When taken together, the above predictions can provide a clear and testable pattern for weather during the next 25 years:
    2010-2020: global cooling and thereafter in the period 2020-2035, a very dramatic and sudden transformation into dangerous climate change resulting from temperature increase.
    The BBC should stop and think whether such alarmist weather forecasting from the climate change lobby can be taken seriously. At present there is insufficient knowledge to make any firm predictions.
    The Met Office states that the green house effect of CO2 is not yet fully understood:
    “…the radiative forcing for a doubling of CO2 is well known from observations of radiation absorption, and is well represented in models. But the temperature rise this causes is not well known due to the very many different feedbacks which operate in the climate system (such as changes in clouds, ice reflectivity etc)...”
    26 Oct 2009. Met Office.
    “….the degree of warming due to CO2 is uncertain, but we are certain that there will be some warming. The range of likely temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 is 1.5-4.5 degrees C….”
    27 Oct 2009. Met Office.
    A given temperature increase, such as the Hadley centre’s prediction of a 2 cent temperature increase by 2050, is therefore compatible with an extremely wide range of possible future CO2 emissions.
    Atmospheric CO2 is predicted to increase by 50% from the current level of 400 ppm to 600 ppm by 2050. If the strength of the temperature effect for such CO2 increases is at the lowest possible end, then non-CO2 effects can account for as much as 62.5% of the temperature increase predicted by the Hadley centre. Taking a mid-range for the temperature effect per doubling of CO2, namely 3c, then non-fossil fuel effects would account for 25% of the Hadley centre’s predicted temperature increase.
    In other words, the temperature predictions of the Hadley Centre tell one nothing about causal mechanisms and their prediction is compatible with a very wide range of causal mechanisms and explanations. Trying to make predictions before the causal mechanisms are fully understood is basically a waste of time.
    Given this degree of uncertainty, the BBC should desist from playing a supporting role in the propaganda war that Mr. Miliband, the Secretary of State for Climate Change, has been waging in the lead-up to the Copenhagen summit.
    Yours sincerely,



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