A writer and environmental activist who was present at the final Copenhagen climate talks says China sabotaged the deal and ensured Barack Obama would shoulder the blame.
While China's Premier Wen Jiabao insisted his government had played an "important and constructive" role, the talks in the Danish capital ended with a political accord rather than a binding agreement.
Mark Lynas, who was attached to the Maldives delegation, described what he saw at the talks as "profoundly shocking".
"I am certain that had the Chinese not been in the room, we would have left Copenhagen with a deal that had environmentalists popping champagne corks in every corner of the world," he wrote in the The Guardian.
"The truth is this: China wrecked the talks, intentionally humiliated Barack Obama, and insisted on an awful 'deal' so Western leaders would walk away carrying the blame.
He says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and other Western leaders were visibly upset when China started "removing all the numbers that mattered" in the final talks, including emissions cuts by developed countries of 80 per cent by 2050.
"'Why can't we even mention our own targets?' demanded a furious [German Premier] Angela Merkel.
"Australia's prime minister, Kevin Rudd, was annoyed enough to bang his microphone. Brazil's representative too pointed out the illogicality of China's position. Why should rich countries not announce even this unilateral cut?
"The Chinese delegate said no, and I watched, aghast, as Merkel threw up her hands in despair and conceded the point. Now we know why - because China bet, correctly, that Obama would get the blame for the Copenhagen accord's lack of ambition.
"But I saw Obama fighting desperately to salvage a deal, and the Chinese delegate saying "no", over and over again."
Lynas says the 2020 peaking year was then "replaced by woolly language" and the global 50 per cent cuts by 2050 were also removed.
"No-one else, perhaps with the exceptions of India and Saudi Arabia, wanted this to happen," Lynas said.'Took the bait'
Lynas fears "the truth about what actually happened is in danger of being lost amid the spin and inevitable mutual recriminations".
"China's strategy was simple: block the open negotiations for two weeks, and then ensure that the closed-door deal made it look as if the west had failed the world's poor once again. And sure enough, the aid agencies, civil society movements and environmental groups all took the bait," he said.
"The failure was 'the inevitable result of rich countries refusing adequately and fairly to shoulder their overwhelming responsibility', said Christian Aid. 'Rich countries have bullied developing nations,' fumed Friends of the Earth International.
"All very predictable, but the complete opposite of the truth."
He is dismissive of the role played by Sudanese delegate Lumumba Di-Aping, who negotiated on behalf of China and developing countries, accusing Sudan of behaving as China's puppet and helping to create the "perfect stitch-up".
Lynas also said China carried out a clear diplomatic snub at the talks.
"The Chinese premier, Wen Jinbao, did not deign to attend the meetings personally, instead sending a second-tier official in the country's foreign ministry to sit opposite Obama himself," he said.
"The diplomatic snub was obvious and brutal, as was the practical implication: several times during the session, the world's most powerful heads of state were forced to wait around as the Chinese delegate went off to make telephone calls to his 'superiors'."India's stance
India has already confirmed it worked with China and other emerging nations to ensure there were no legally binding targets at the talks.
India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh earlier faced parliament for the first time since the UN talks, saying the nation had "come out quite well in Copenhagen".
"We can be satisfied that we were able to get our way on this issue," declared Mr Ramesh, who has consistently said India would be one of the countries hardest hit by climate change.
He said India, China, South Africa and Brazil had emerged as a powerful force and said the group had protected its right to continued economic growth.
Mr Ramesh said India would continue to work with its allies "to ensure that the interests of developing countries and India in particular are protected in the course of negotiations in 2010 and beyond".Britain's blame
Britain has also said the meeting was lurched into farce and pointed the finger of blame at Beijing.
While British Prime Minister Gordon Brown refrained from naming countries, his climate change minister Ed Miliband said China had led a group of countries that "hijacked" the negotiations which had at times presented "a farcical picture to the public".
"We did not get an agreement on 50 per cent reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80 per cent reductions by developed countries," he wrote in The Guardian.
"Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries."
China, the world's top polluter, doggedly resisted pressure for outside scrutiny of its emissions.