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Developing Nations Stand Firm on Kyoto Protocol

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Developing countries on Wednesday warned against discarding the Kyoto Protocol and protested a Danish attempt to supersede it with a compromise text without consulting them.

Denmark is hosting the United Nations climate change talks.

"We have seen that developed country parties to the Kyoto Protocol are seeking to dismantle the protocol," which set binding emissions reduction targets for industrialized countries, said Nafie Ali Nafie, head of the Sudanese delegation, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.

The group of developing nations is present at the high-level negotiations at the Copenhagen talks.

Nafie said developed countries intended to undermine the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" by throwing away the Kyoto Protocol.

He and representatives from the alliance of small island states in the talks stressed the need to maintain the two-track structure of negotiations of which the Kyoto Protocol is an essential instrument.

The two-track negotiation mechanism refers to the two working groups of the conference -- one is tasked with amending the Kyoto Protocol and another is with working out a long-term cooperative action.

The mechanism was established in the 2007 Bali Action Plan, under which developed countries should come up with emissions reduction targets for the second commitment period of the protocol after the first expires in 2012 and discuss how to help developing countries with their mitigation and adaptation efforts.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Males Zenawi, speaking on behalf of the African countries, said funding for adaption and mitigation should rise to US$100 billion a year by 2020.

He told delegates the funding should start by 2013 and reach 50billion dollars a year by 2015, with the funds allocated for adaption to vulnerable and poor countries and regions, such as Africa and small island states.

In the short term, Zenawi said, a start-up fund of US$10 billion a year for the 2010-2012 period should be established to address urgent needs of adaption and mitigation. He also suggested that 40 percent of the start-up funds should be earmarked for Africa.

Just before the start of the high-level negotiations, China and a number of other developing nations protested an attempt by the Danish presidency of the talks to put forward draft outcome texts without consulting other parties.

"This is a party-driven process. You can't just put forward some texts from the sky," China's chief negotiator Su Wei said at the conference after an announcement by the Danish presidency on the draft.

It has been agreed that the only legitimate basis for discussion on the outcome of the Copenhagen talks will be the results of the work by the two working groups, Su said.

The move by the Danish presidency "would very much endanger a successful outcome in Copenhagen."

The texts also draw criticism from India, Brazil and other developing nations, but the top UN climate official, Yvo de Boer, tried to play down the Danish move.

The Danish presidency prepared the texts to "offer a tool that can facilitate the process of decision-making" as a number of critical issues still need to be resolved, he said.

"But ultimately it's up to the parties and governments that are represented here to decide what they want to use as the basis for their work," he told reporters.

Many countries are demanding a legally-binding climate treaty be reached in Copenhagen, but divisions between developed and developing nations, mainly over emissions reduction and financing, is eroding chances of such a deal.

World leaders are arriving in Copenhagen to endorse efforts to reach a deal. Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen has replaced Danish Minister Connie Hedegaard as president of the UN climate talks for the final summit starting later this week.

(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2009)