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Copenhagen deal no closer: Rudd -

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Copenhagen deal no closer: Rudd

Emma Alberici reported this story on Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:10:00

ELEANOR HALL: We begin in Copenhagen where Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has been talking
down the prospects of an agreement between world leaders on climate change.

A legally binding deal was scotched well before the meeting began. Now the leaders have less than
two days to come up with a workable political agreement.

And frustration is growing both inside and outside the Copenhagen summit. Earlier today 3,000
demonstrators clashed with riot police on the doorstep of the summit venue. Now there are reports
that police are removing all delegates from non-government organisations from the centre.

Our Europe correspondent Emma Alberici is in Copenhagen and joins me now.

Emma tell us about the protests on the steps of the centre.

EMMA ALBERICI: Well Eleanor you have to put this firstly into a bit of context. This is a centre
with a capacity for about 15,000 people. The United Nations decided to throw the doors open to
practically anyone who wanted to join in the wider discussion so at the final count on day nine
there were 46,000 people who'd registered as participants.

Now I can tell you walking through the Bella Center it is congestion like you can't believe. It
takes an inordinate amount of time to get from one end to the other.

Now with world leaders descending on the centre over the next couple of days there's been word for
the last 24 hours that they were trying to work out a way, security, to get rid of a huge number of
these people.

So what they've done, everyone's badges have a different colour on them. My badge is a sort of
orangey colour because I'm press and then the pink badges are for the parties, the actual people
who are involved in the negotiations, that is the government parties.

And then everyone else is categorised as NGO (non-government organisation). Stephen Fielding, the
Family First Senator from Australia, is categorised as an NGO. Basically an NGO is everyone other
than press and government.

So they are now trying to ration numbers and that actually, that process started today. So all the
people without the orange or pink badges were being turned away.

And what's happened is this frustration has boiled over. Three-thousand people were outside trying
to get back in and this is where the confrontation came...

ELEANOR HALL: How many people were they, sorry, how many people were they actually trying to evict?
Was it as many as half the delegates or the members there at the conference?

EMMA ALBERICI: Oh look it's hard to tell. I wouldn't say half, no, because there were still, it was
still hugely congested all day today right up until about 9pm this evening.

So I'd say that about the 3,000 that were outside was probably about the first batch who were
evicted. I'd say that's why the clashes were so intense early on, 230 people were arrested.

And it's also of note that there was some legislation brought in just before this conference
specifically for this occasion that allows police to what's called pre-emptively detain people and
arrest them before violence breaks out.

So there are accusations of heavy handedness because they are deploying the tear gas and the batons
and so on before the violence erupts. So in some respects they're inciting the violence just to try
to break these things up.

ELEANOR HALL: So a deal of frustration outside the centre there. How are negotiations going inside?

EMMA ALBERICI: Well this is I guess why there's so much frustration out on the street because the
progress on the inside is incredibly slow and there's very little progress.

We can say that there has been one development of substance and that is that an agreement has been
reached on deforestation. Deforestation they say accounts for about a fifth of all carbon
emissions.

And so the world leaders who are already here, Australia included and the UK, Norway is another one
who signed up to this - $3.5 billion has been allocated to the developing world to help with the
area of deforestation. Australia has committed $120 million worth of that over the next three
years.

ELEANOR HALL: Now aside from the deforestation deal it sounds as though Kevin Rudd has in fact been
playing down talk of a deal.

EMMA ALBERICI: Yes. When he first arrived last night he was talking about, his line was that there
is no guarantee of success. And he's repeated that again today and talked about the fact that
things are going at a snail's pace.

And he said in the next few days, the next few days would make the difference between a
breakthrough or hitting a brick wall. And we all had a bit of a chuckle about a snail hitting a
brick wall and how much impact that might actually have.

But he has really been talking down, you know, and trying not to get people's expectations up
because of course ahead of this we all know that, you know his climate change credentials in some
respects are hanging on this meeting because he didn't manage to get his emissions trading scheme
legislation up.

But he said in the wash-up there had been, after his first full day here, very little progress.

KEVIN RUDD: Large international conferences like this are full of more argy bargy than your average
ALP National Conference on steroids. That's what I'm saying.

But this involves, as I said yesterday, a very large sound and light show. Separating that from the
substance of the negotiations is a separate matter. And making sure you don't get distracted by
either a) the name calling; b) the sound and light show; or c) any of the other sort of frivolities
going on, is important.

But underneath it all you've got to have a core negotiation. That is underway. It's proceeding at a
snail's pace right now. But the nature of these negotiations is that they either run into a brick
wall or you get a breakthrough towards the end.

ELEANOR HALL: I see what you mean about the snail and the brick wall there Emma.

(Laughter)

That's the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

But the US President Barack Obama is due to arrive tomorrow. Is there much optimism that his
arrival may change things?

EMMA ALBERICI: Now look. It looks like where this is all heading, the pointy end of all this is
going to be finance. This is the big sticking point between the developed world and the developing
world.

The developing world says we're not going to be able to mitigate or adapt to climate change if we
don't have the money to do so.

The great expectation is that Barack Obama is going to fly in like a knight with shining armour and
bring in a big bucket of money to throw at the problem.

Now there's been a lot of discussion today in particular from the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles
Zenawi flagging a proposal which would help solve this issue of financing, how you actually get the
money and allocate it from the rich world to the poor. And he's suggested some sort of a fund that
derives its cash from imposing levies on the international travel industry and on shipping and
aviation and perhaps a global financial transactions tax.

Now Gordon Brown of the UK, Nicolas Sarkozy of France, even Kevin Rudd, have all said that they
would support such a proposal. If Barack Obama comes in and does the same we could start to see
some momentum around an actual framework to guarantee some well needed funds for the developing
world and I think that's where the sticking point is.

ELEANOR HALL: Emma Alberici in Copenhagen, thank you.