Der Spiegel has some details of the negotiations at the Copenhagen climate meeting last December among heads of state. EUObserver has a story in English, and here is an excerpt:
There is not much new here, though it is striking to see the exact discussions among leaders. The lesson to be taken from the exchange is that when prospects for economic growth run up against emissions reduction targets, or are perceived to do so, it is economic growth that will win out every time. This lesson has yet to be fully appreciated in the world of international climate policy.
Leaked tapes from the failed climate summit in Copenhagen published in German weekly Der Spiegel have documented a deeper rift between France, Germany and the US and China and India than previously thought.
The tapes were recorded "accidentally" on 18 December 2009, during a meeting of 25 leaders, including Germany's Angela Merkel, France's Nicolas Sarkozy, US President Barack Obama and the representatives of China and India, Der Spiegel reports.
When she presented Europe's demand to have a commitment for a global reduction of 50 percent in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, China's negotiator intervened abruptly and said: "Thank you for all your proposals. We've already said we cannot accept the long-term goal of 50 percent."
At that point, French President Nicolas Sarkozy jumped in. "With all due respect and friendship for China," he said, the West had already committed itself to an 80 percent reduction by the mid-century mark. "And China, who will soon be the biggest economy in the world, now tells the world 'these engagements are for you, not for us.' This is unacceptable. One has to react to this hypocrisy," he scoffed.
US President Barack Obama tried to moderate the discussion, but also expressed his frustration that the Chinese premier preferred to stay in his hotel room and to send his chief negotiator instead. "I know there is a Chinese premier here, one who takes important decisions," the US President said. Mr Obama then told the Chinese negotiator, He Yafei, "[the premier] is giving you instructions at this stage."
Mr Yafei replied: "I do not speak for myself here. I speak for China. I heard President Sarkozy talk about hypocrisy. I would avoid such terms." He argued that industrial countries had to assume their responsibility after causing 80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions within one century. "Don't run away from that," he said.