Drip by drip, the full story is emerging of last December's global diplomatic debacle in Copenhagen, when instead of setting the world on a new low carbon path and tackling climate change, 130 world leaders ended up with a weak deal and no prospect of a binding agreement for another 18 months.
The latest revelations come from the man at the very heart of the debacle, UN climate chief Yvo de Boer. Normally the model of a discreet and guarded international bureaucrat, his confidential letter of explanation to his colleagues, written only days after the meeting ended, displays a mix of bemusement, clarity and exasperation. "How could several years of negotiation and high level diplomacy be allowed to end up this way?", he asks. The letter appears in a new Danish book by journalist Per Meilstrup.
His letter puts the blame squarely on Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen and his presidency of the summit. He identifies the war which had been going on between Rasmussen's office and Danish climate chief Connie Hedegaard's team in the energy ministry. Hedegaard stood down halfway through the summit.As if the whole eco-Robbing Hood deal (pilfer from the undeserving rich; give to the deserving poor; save the polar bear's planet) predicated on cooked books, including a graph that looked like a hockey stick, was "balanced".
The key event, he suggests, was Rasmussen's draft text. This, known widely as the "Danish text", was due to be wheeled out just when the talks reached a deadlock, as they were bound to do. The trouble was, implies De Boer, the text was clearly advantageous to the US and the west, would have steamrollered the developing countries, and was presented to a few countries a week before the meeting officially started.
De Boer, the experienced diplomat, could see the Danish text it would be a disaster and says that the UN tried desperately to stop it but failed. Within days the worst had happened. The text had been leaked to the Guardian, put on the internet and had outraged the 157-odd countries who had not seen it. From then on, the meeting was polarised.
"[the Danish text] destroyed two years of effort in one fell swoop. All our attempts to prevent the paper happening failed. The meeting at which it was presented was unannounced and the paper [was] unbalanced," wrote De Boer...