Climate talks: not just empty words

By Li Huizi and Niu Qi
0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, November 30, 2009
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China will try to make a constructive contribution to the Copenhagen climate summit next month and will not accept a conclusion with an "empty" declaration.

"The Copenhagen conference will be a milestone," said Li Gao, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), who has been a key climate change negotiator for China for years.

"We will try to make the summit successful and we will not accept that it ends with an empty and so-called political declaration," Li said last Tuesday at a forum, two weeks ahead of the long-anticipated summit.

Representatives of about 190 countries will attend the 15th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from December 7 to 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The meeting is expected to renew GHG emissions reduction targets set by the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol, the first stage of which is to expire in 2012. It is also expected to further outline the post-2012 negotiation path.

Li said, "the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali Road Map have always been China's bottom line in international climate negotiations."

The Bali Road Map, agreed by UNFCCC parties in 2007, laid out a two-year process to finalizing a binding agreement in 2009 in Copenhagen. It covers climate-related aspects such as emission cutting, mitigation, forestation, adaptation, financing and technology transfer.

The current state of climate negotiations, he said, "has made some progress, but is seriously inadequate."

The United States has been under pressure from other nations in the run-up to Copenhagen, as the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), aiming to mitigate climate change, is unlikely to be passed by the US Senate by the end of this year.

Despite all the difficulties ahead, Li said financing offered by developed nations and technological transfer had made some progress, which paved the way for success for the conference.

Li said China "will not accept any separate legal document" that put the Kyoto Protocol aside. Although some developed countries such as the United States cannot publicly deny the validity of the Kyoto Protocol, they could use various hidden means to make it legally useless, and let another legal document, in line with their own interest, replace it.

Communication between developing and developed nations is important. Take the world's two largest greenhouse gas emitters. China and the US signed a memorandum of understanding encouraging cooperation on climate change and cleaner energy in July.

During US President Barack Obama's visit to China earlier this month, the two sides singed a joint statement in Beijing after talks between Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, agreeing that "the transition to a green and low-carbon economy is essential."

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