Developing countries, including China and India, are unwilling to sign up to a new global climate change pact to replace Kyoto because the rich world has failed to set a clear example on cutting CO2.

That’s the blunt message from Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He argues that too many rich countries, including the US, have failed to take the action needed to convince the developing nations to sign up to a deal in Copenhagen next year that could help to stabilise global emissions.

“You may not be able to get an agreement in one shot, let’s say by Copenhagen, that sets you on the path of stabilisation in keeping with some kind of long-term target,” Pachauri told the Guardian. “Looking at the politics of the situation, I doubt whether any of the developing countries will make any commitments before they have seen the developed countries take a specific stand.”

He said there were “reasons for dismay” at the rich countries’ failure to cut carbon emissions. “This really doesn’t give anybody the conviction that those that had agreed to take action as the first step are really serious about doing so. And in several developing countries you get the feeling – in fact people state it very clearly – that these guys [rich countries] are going to shove the whole burden on to our shoulders. That’s why it’s necessary for the developed world to establish a certain credibility.”

George Bush wouldn’t know credibility on climate change if he tripped over it.