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The UN international climate change conference is in chaos as the G77, which represents 130 developing countries "pulled the emergency plug" suspending the talks over wealthy countries' reluctance to discuss a legally binding emissions treaty.
Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam put out this statement:
Africa has pulled the emergency cord to avoid a train crash at the end of the week. Poor countries want to see an outcome which guarantees sharp emissions reductions yet rich countries are trying to delay discussions on the only mechanism we have to deliver this - the Kyoto Protocol.
This not about blocking the talks - it is about whether rich countries are ready to guarantee action on climate change and the survival or people in Africa and across the world.
"Australia and Japan are crying foul while blocking movement on legally binding emissions reductions for rich countries. This tit for tat approach is no way to deal with the climate crisis."
African countries have refused to continue negotiations unless talks on a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol are prioritized ahead of broader discussions under a second LCA track. Australia, Japan and others have succeeded in stopping Kyoto Protocol discussions as a result. Of the two tracks of negotiations underway in Copenhagen the Kyoto Protocol is the only one which includes a mechanism for legally binding emissions reductions by rich countries.
UPDATE: 7:07 AM EST:
The Australian news site, News.com.au reports more on the walkout:
The G77, a group which represents 130 developing countries, walked out because it is concerned the existing Kyoto protocol will be abandoned.
Australia's Climate Change Minister Penny Wong confirmed that organisers were trying to fix the problem and coax back the developing world.
Many countries at the UN climate summit want a brand new treaty to tackle climate change, but the developing world wants the Kyoto protocol to continue as well.
UPDATE: 11:51 EST
Reuters reports that Africa has returned to the discussions after a half day suspension.
"We're going back," Pa Ousman Jarju from the delegation of Gambia, told Reuters after a meeting of the African group.
The protest held up a session due to start at 1030 GMT, just four days before a summit of 110 leaders aims to agree a U.N. pact to combat global warming that could bring more heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.
He said that the Danish hosts gave assurances that there would be more focus on African nations' demands for an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, the existing pact for curbing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Read more from Reuters here.
There has been limited information coming out of the conference about the flap, and what it means for negotiations going into the final days of the conference.
Check back for more breaking updates on this story.