Time for developed nations to show responsibility in climate talks

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 3, 2012
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The developed world's condescending attitude toward their developing peers at the Doha climate talks, which are halfway through, has hampered progress, casting a shadow on the prospects of delivering tangible results in next week's high-level meetings.

Negotiators from developed economies have either shunned entering substantive issues such as technological transfer, or shirked their pledges to cut emissions and channel funds to developing countries.

A Green Climate Fund designed to channel up to 100 billion U.S. dollars annually to poor countries has yet to begin operating and the Fast Start finance has also been watered down by a repackaging of previously pledged aid money.

Meanwhile, a report by the World Bank showed that the global temperature is on track to increase by up to 4 degrees Celsius this century, exceeding the 2-degree target set by the United Nations.

With the clock ticking toward a "climate cliff," the advanced countries should cast away their pride and prejudice and join developing countries to work out the details of an extended period of the Kyoto Protocol before its first commitment period expires on Dec. 31.

Both their historic responsibility and the grave reality require the developed countries to take the lead in checking the temperature rise.

First of all, the advanced nations are responsible for about 80 percent of the existing greenhouse gases (GHG) discharged during their industrialization, leaving a warming globe to the developing countries.

Secondly, the developed countries' per capita GDP is much higher than that of the developing ones, whose priorities remain reducing poverty and improving their people's well-being.

As a result, an increase in carbon emissions is inevitable for countries struggling for survival and sustainable growth. This law of development is ignored by most rich countries.

Thirdly, the current commitment to emissions reduction made by Kyoto Protocol parties is far from enough to avert climate disasters.

To meet the UN target of keeping the temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius, the developed world's carbon emissions in 2020 need to be slashed to 25-40 percent below the 1990 level, as against an overall 15-percent reduction they have pledged.

What's worth pointing out is that the United States has only promised to slash its emissions in 2020 to 17 percent lower than the 2005 level, or 3 percent lower than the 1990 level.

In contrast, the developing world has embarked on ambitious emission-cutting programs, though poverty eradication remains their overriding task.

China, for instance, has announced plans to trim its "carbon intensity" by 40-45 percent by the year 2020 from the 2005 emission levels, a move demonstrating its anti-warming sincerity and resolve.

Like previous UN climate talks, the Doha meetings are bound to undergo twists and turns, and their upcoming high-level segment is expected to witness an even bumpier round.

There may be Plan B in negotiations, but there is no Planet B. For the sake of the whole mankind, the developed countries should show more responsibility and sincerity, and work to achieve a compromise with the developing countries to jointly save the warming globe.

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