Copenhagen's Class Divisions

Developing countries at the Climate Change Summit want to be heard—and compensated.

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But in the midst of a global recession, the question of how to raise the money is still unresolved. The United Nations is estimating that some $170 billion per year might be needed to realistically prepare the developing world for climate change. And climate aid is not the primary aim of the conference. “We’re not going to build a deal around aid,” says Nayak, who is in Copenhagen for the week. “But if we are going to build a deal around reducing emissions targets, we need to make sure it’s fair and equitable.”

UPDATE 12/9: A leaked document (the so-called "Danish text"), outlining negotiating terms for several rich nationsthat include weak emissions reduction targets for wealthy countries and more stringent terms for poor nationshit the conference like a bomb early this week, prompting Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, G77 chairman, to declare such terms a "suicide pact." If established science is correct, unprepared developing nations would, under the terms suggested by the draft proposal (from which no country claims to be negotiating), experience levels of warming that put millions of lives at risk. Di-Aping later called it "certain death for Africa."

The impact of this new development on a final deal in Copenhagen is unclear. A strong, unified voice from the global south could prove decisive during what will be a tense fortnight spent balancing the economic, cultural and political interests of nearly 200 nations attending the summit.

Dayo Olopade is Washington reporter for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.

Covers the White House and Washington for The Root. Follow her on Twitter.