Spiegel Secret Recording Of Copenhagen – Obama: “…much more important business to take care of”
Germany’s online Der Spiegel reveals it has secret audio recordings of the Climate Summit in Copenhagen from last Deecember: http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/0,1518,692471,00.html, in an article titled Secret Recordings Expose Climate Summit Uproar.
The audio shows in juicy detail how the summit ended in a fiasco and how rifts between the EU, USA, China and India are far deeper and more raw than believed.
The audio was inadvertebtly made during the afternoon of December 18, a result of a technical snafu. According to Der Spiegel: 25 heads of state were present – among them Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Nicolas Sarkozy, Manmohan Singh – but not the Premier of China Wen Jiabao, who remained in his hotel quarters and let himslf be represented by a high ranking diplomat, He Yafei.
The audio reveals how Angela Merkel tried in vain for 90 minutes to convince India and China to make a commitment, arguing in raised voices, and Indian Prime Minister Singh accusing Merkel of “not being fair.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy also reacted harshly and accused China of a “lack of will”. Sarkozy:
In all friendliness and all due respect to China, the West has committed to reducing GHG by 80%. Yet in return China, a country that soon will be the world’s largest economy, more or less replies: Commitment applies to you, but not for us.
Sarkozy then added:
That’s unacceptable! … this hypocrisy must be responded to.
Diplomatically that’s harsh. At this point Obama intervened to try to diffuse the situation. But Obama then seemed miffed by the diplomatic affront of having to speak to only a diplomat, and not to Premier Wen himself, who had opted to stay in his hotel room. Obama said to diplomat He Yafei:
I know the Chinese Premier is here, and is the one who makes the big decisions…you’re only following instructions.
The high ranking diplomat responded:
I’m not speaking for myself, but on behalf of China…
He Yafei then commented on how the industrial countries are responsible for 80% of the GHG emissions over the last century, and reminded:
I heard President Sarkozy speak of hypocrisy. I avoid using such terms.
And then injecting (w.r.t. 80% of last century’s Co2 emissions):
Don’t run from that.
Later in the audio recording, after the developing countries had dropped the European targets from the agreement and Obama had put some distance beween himself and Europe, Obama was itching to salvage something. Obama called for an agrement later “…outside of this multilateral framework” and that they had to show some progress, and that besides
“…everybody here has other much more important business to take care of.”
Like healthcare and umeployment? He’s right.
To keep Copenhagen from becoming a complete disaster, the heads of state agreed “to take note of” the controversial Copenhagen agreement. A formal vote never took place.
Caution! Der Spiegel translated the original quotes from English to German. I have translated the German quotes back into English, and so it’s likely that my English version may differ somewhat from the original English quotes.