Gordon Brown says "handful" of states wrecked climate talks

LONDON Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:27am EST

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown is seen at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen December 18, 2009. World leaders tried to save a climate deal from collapse over a stand-off between rich and developing nations on Friday, the last day of U.N. talks meant to agree a new global pact. REUTERS/Sren Bidstrup/Scanpix

Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown is seen at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen December 18, 2009. World leaders tried to save a climate deal from collapse over a stand-off between rich and developing nations on Friday, the last day of U.N. talks meant to agree a new global pact.

Credit: Reuters/Sren Bidstrup/Scanpix

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LONDON (Reuters) - A handful of countries blocked a legally binding deal on climate change in Copenhagen and the talks process needs urgent reform to prevent something similar happening again, Britain's prime minister said on Monday.

Gordon Brown said the non-binding agreement achieved after rounds of talks in the Danish capital were "at best flawed, at worst chaotic."

"We will not allow a few countries to hold us back," he told an environmental meeting in London via a videolink from Scotland. He did not name those countries. "What happened at Copenhagen was a flawed decision-making process.

"We have just got to find a way of moving this process forward."

Writing in Monday's Guardian newspaper, British Climate Change and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband blamed China for blocking emissions targets.

He also implicated Sudan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba in the failure to strike a deal, aides told the paper.

China said it would treat talks on a binding global climate change pact in 2010 as a struggle over the "right to develop," a Chinese official said, signaling more tough deal-making will follow the Copenhagen summit.

China, the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from human activities and its biggest developing economy, was at the heart of the talks, and bared some its growing assertiveness in grinding late-night sessions.

Miliband later said "four or five countries out of 192" had stood in the way of a deal in Copenhagen.

"My biggest frustration was that we were not arguing about points of substance, we were arguing about procedures," Miliband told the meeting in London.

The summit in Copenhagen ended with a bare-minimum agreement on Saturday when delegates "noted" an accord struck by the United States, China and other emerging powers that fell far short of original goals.

(Additional reporting by William James; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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