Copenhagen delegates walk out of talks

Participants of the United Nations Climate Change Conference walk past a globe at the Bella Center in Copenhagen

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Steve Chiotakis: Week two of the U.N. Summit in Copenhagen. World leaders continue to grapple with the issue of climate change. Marketplace reporters Stephen Beard and Sam Eaton are there. This morning, word that negotiators remain far apart on all of the major the issues, and there's been the first walkout of a delegation. And Stephen Beard is with us live from the summit. Hi, Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello, Steve.

Chiotakis: So a walk-out, what happened?

Beard: A large group of African delegates walked out. They're protesting that at the end of this week in Copenhagen, we might wind up without a binding agreement to cut carbon emissions. So as we speak, there are no formal negotiations going on here. Plenty of talks behind closed doors, but still plenty of disagreements and differences between the two key players, for example, U.S. and China. The U.S. wants tougher, verifiable emissions curbs from the Chinese, the Chinese want much deeper cuts from the U.S., and neither side seems willing to give. As Alessandro Vitelli of IDEAcarbon told me, there hasn't so far been a lot of progress at these talks:

Alessandro Vitelli: There are some very, very divergent positions, there are some very strong opinions being held by different groups. And it's going to take some very, very heavy lifting by world leaders to get us to an agreement.

Chiotakis: Stephen, with the arrival of more than a hundred world leaders there, isn't there some optimism that an agreement will be reached? Otherwise, I mean, why did they agree to go?

Beard: Yes indeed. I mean the political pressure for a deal is overwhelming. But the question is, will it be a serious, tough agreement to cut emissions? Will it be an agreement with teeth?

Chiotakis: All right. Stephen Beard in London -- not in London, in Copenhagen today! Stephen, thanks.

Beard: OK, Steve.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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