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Chaos and confrontation in Copenhagen

Tom Feilden | 08:26 UK time, Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Smoke rises from a chimney in Copenhagen.jpg

It was a day of high drama and more than a little shambling chaos at the Copenhagen climate change conference.

On the outside thousands of people - all accredited - spent the day trying (and mostly failing) to get in....while on the inside delegates from the developing world were staging a walkout.

The main session of the conference was suspended for five hours when the G77 group, which represents 130 developing nations and includes China, India and Brazil, withdrew accusing their Danish hosts of trying to stitch up a deal behind closed doors.

The row exposes a deep rift between rich and poor nations that could scupper hopes of a deal. At it's heart of course is money - who will pay, and how much, to help developing countries deal with the impact of global warming.

In the end the ruffled feathers were smoothed over, and now the focus is very much on the arrival of Prince Charles.

If he can get past the accreditation commissars he'll be addressing the summit later this morning, lobbying for a meaningful final agreement and for action on de-forestation.

Then, this afternoon, Gordon Brown arrives - well ahead of many of the world leaders attending the summit. That may be because the Prime Minister sees himself in the role of honest broker - the man to mediate between the rich nations and the developing world.

He believes his track record on alleviating poverty in Africa, on the financial crisis, and on climate change (he promised to come to Copenhagen while others held back), gives him credibility in both camps.

It's a dangerous strategy, one that could blow up in his face if a deal can't be agreed. But the Prime Minister's experience chairing the G20 taught him that if you want to secure a deal you have to get your hands dirty - you can't just turn up on the final day and expect everything to fall into place.

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