Q&A: Are Rich Nations Being Honest Brokers at Copenhagen?


Will backroom deals among rich nations lead to death and devastation for poorer ones? That’s the fear of negotiators from world’s most impoverished countries—a bloc known as the Group of 77, or G77—especially after an early draft of proposed negotiating text was leaked to the media on Tuesday. It outlined a weak agreement that required fewer emissions cuts from wealthy nations. In the conference’s first flashpoint, G77 negotiators stormed into a main hall in the middle of the busy conference center. “We will not die quietly,” they chanted.

“We have been asked to sign a suicide pact,” declared Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, the Sudanese chairman of the G77. The proposed levels of warming that the draft would allow mean “certain death for Africa,” he said. The group also slammed the proposed levels of funding from rich nations to help developing countries adapt to climate change and curb their own emissions. “Ten billion dollars is not enough to buy us coffins,” charged Di-Aping, according to reports from the scene.

The leaked draft is not necessarily the negotiating position for many developed nations. But it has raised suspicions that rich nations aren’t being honest brokers. Mother Jones talked to Di-Aping on Tuesday night about the draft and what it means for those countries for which the talks at Copenhagen are already a matter of survival.

To read the interview, click here.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.