Climate draft slammed

Industrial countries criticized a draft global warming pact Saturday for not making stronger demands on major developing countries as tens of thousands of banner-waving protesters demanding “climate justice” marched toward the U.N. conference.

Detained demonstrators are seen lined up on a street in Copenhagen Saturday.

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Industrial countries criticized a draft global warming pact Saturday for not making stronger demands on major developing countries as tens of thousands of banner-waving protesters demanding “climate justice” marched toward the U.N. conference.

As night fell on the Danish capital, police said they rounded up more than 300 people in a preventive action against a group of black-clad youth at the back of the mostly peaceful demonstration.

Initial reaction to the negotiating text submitted Friday underscored the split between the U.S.-led wealthy countries and countries still struggling to overcome poverty and catch up with the modern world.

The tightly focused document was meant to lay out the crunch themes for environment ministers to wrestle with as they prepare for a summit of some 110 heads of state and government at the end of next week.

U.S. delegate Jonathan Pershing said the draft failed to address the contentious issue of carbon emissions by emerging economies.

“The current draft didn’t work in terms of where it is headed,” Pershing said in the plenary, supported by the European Union, Japan and Norway.

But the EU also directed criticism at the U.S., insisting it could make greater commitments to push the talks forward without stretching the legislation pending in Congress. Both the U.S. and China should be legally bound to keep whatever promises they make, said Swedish Environment Minister Anders Carlgren.

China has made voluntary commitments to rein in its carbon emissions but doesn’t want to be bound by international law to do so. In China’s view, the U.S. and other rich countries have a heavy historical responsibility to cut emissions and any climate deal in Copenhagen should take into account a country’s level of development.

Environment ministers started arriving in the Danish capital Saturday for informal talks before world leaders join the summit late next week.

On the chilly streets outside, police assigned extra squads to watch protesters marching toward the suburban conference centre to demand that leaders act now to fight climate change.

Police estimated their numbers at 25,000, while organizers said as many as 100,000 had joined the march from downtown Copenhagen, waving banners that read “Nature doesn’t compromise” and “Climate Justice Now.”

Danish supermodel Helena Christensen was in the crowd. “They will be very bad politicians if they do not hear us by now,” she said about the policy-makers negotiating in Copenhagen.

Most of the demonstrators were peaceful but police detained 300-350 people in a preventive raid against a bloc of youth activists at the back of the procession, police spokesman Rasmus Bernt Skovsgaard said.

“There was some cobblestone-throwing and at the same time people were putting on masks,” he said. “We decided to go for preventive detentions to give the peaceful demonstration the possibility to move on.”

There were no reports of injuries.

Earlier police said they had detained 19 people, mainly for breaking Denmark’s strict laws against carrying pocket knives or wearing masks during demonstrations.

Delegates at the conference centre gathered around flat-screen TVs to watch live footage showing riot police rounding up small groups of young people dressed in black from the back of the demonstration and tying their hands with plastic wrist restraints.

Environmental activists also rallied elsewhere in Europe and in Asia to increase the pressure on climate negotiators in Copenhagen.

The draft distributed to the 192-nation conference set no firm figures on financing or on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

It said all countries together should reduce emissions by a range of 50 per cent to 95 per cent by 2050, and rich countries should cut emissions by 25 to 40 per cent by 2020, in both cases using 1990 as the baseline year.

The draft continues the system for industrial countries set up in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol by which they are legally bound to targets for emission reductions and face penalties if they fall short. It makes no similar requirements of developing countries like China and India, which have pledged to reduce the growth rate of emissions but reject the notion of turning those voluntary pledges into legal commitments.

So far, industrial nations’ pledges to cut emissions have amounted to far less than the minimum.

The draft also left open the form of the agreement — whether it will be a legal document or a political declaration. European Union leaders announced in Brussels this week after two days of tough talks that they would commit $3.6 billion (C2.4 billion) a year until 2012 to a short-term fund for poor countries. Most of this money came from Britain, France and Germany. Many cash-strapped former East bloc countries balked at donating but eventually all gave at least a token amount to preserve the 27-nation bloc’s unity.

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

RCMP offer tips for crime-free holiday ’Tis the season for joy and… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Most Read