Pakistani expert: Blaming China of foiling agreement on climate incorrect

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A Pakistani environment expert has said that accusing China of foiling a consensus agreement regarding climate change in the Copenhagen conference is unfair and factually incorrect.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Shafqat Kakakhel, the Chief Advisor on Environment at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Pakistan, said China participated in all the meetings and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a lot of effort to reach a consensus.

"It was realized that it will not be possible to have a legally binding agreement. So the focus was on a political framework which would then serve as a background if not the bases for discussion for a legally binding agreement," said the veteran UN environment official.

"I think China played a very constructive role and I find it unfortunate that the British media and some leaders have been accusing China of scuttling an agreement. That is unfair and factually incorrect and I think China has continued to stand by the developing countries," Kakakhel said.

Kakakhel, who attended the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen earlier this month, said Premier Wen's speech was very warmly received and he received congratulations. He said the premier met with U.S. President Obama several times and met with the prime ministers of Britain, Japan and the chancellor of Germany.

Kakakhel said Premier Wen met with the prime minister of India and with the president of Brazil, who represent emerging industrialization in the developing countries. He also met with the president of Maldives, the prime minister of Ethiopia, the prime minister of Bangladesh and a number of countries which are worst affected by climate change, he added.

He said that China has reduced the energy intensity per unit of growth which means that China would try to produce the same amounts of goods and the same amount of results with less energy.

"And China has been making very impressive efforts in developing renewable sources of energy, all kinds of energy. It is already a major producer and leader in solar energy; it is trying very hard to develop wind technology, wind power generation and hydro-powers and others," the advisor said.

Developing countries can follow China as far as environment or climate issues are concerned adding they must similarly try to reduce the energy intensity of their development in process, the expert said.

Responding to a question he said in 1992 China did not promise any action on climate change. But since 1992 economic progress and development in China is visible, he said.

It attained one of the highest growth rates in the world in 2006 and actually emitted more carbon dioxide than the United States, Kakakhel said. "Along with its progress China is aware of its responsibility to help in solving this global threat and it is willing to share the environment friendly technology with other countries," he said.

Regarding the future of a consensus agreement on the issue of environment protection, he said "a consensus was achieved without being put into an agreement. So that is now a challenge in 2010 because we must have a legally binding agreement by the end of 2010 it is in fact, it will be a bit late."

Kakakhel said there is a cooperation agreement between Pakistan and China on climate change that was signed during President Zardari's visit.

"As a Pakistani I hope that agreement will be implemented. We already have 14 or 15 experts who are being trained in China in order to benefit from clean development mechanism," he said.

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