The UN climate talks in Cancún were in danger of collapse last night after many Latin American countries said that they would leave if a crucial negotiating document, due to be released tomorrow, did not continue to commit rich countries to emissions cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (Alba) group of nine Latin American countries – who claim they are backed by African, Arab countries and other developing nations – said they were not prepared to see an end to the treaty that legally requires all of its signatories to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
They challenged the Mexican presidency of the UN summit to prepare a negotiating text including a commitment by rich countries to set fresh targets for a second period of Kyoto beyond 2012.
The Guardian understands that if the new text includes a reference to a continuation of the Kyoto protocol, the talks will continue. But if it omits the wording and opts only to support negotiations based on the weaker Copenhagen accord agreed last year, then developing countries are likely to stop the talks.