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Poznan climate talks pave way for Copenhagen
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The ongoing Poznan climate talks, though failing to meet expectations, set a timetable for next year's negotiations which may facilitate certain outcome for the Copenhagen meeting, said head of the Chinese delegation Thursday.

"The process of negotiations has been rough and failed to meet expectations" as the developed countries and their developing counterparts were at odds on their stances on a number of issues, said Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, in a joint interview with three major Chinese media including Xinhua.

On the core issue of greenhouse gas emission cut targets, Xie said the developed countries are keeping away from making a clear stance.

"They are all waiting, especially waiting for the attitude of the U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's incoming administration and that of other major emitters. In fact, they are waiting for others to show their hand," said Xie, head of the Chinese delegation to the Poznan talks.

The developing countries, by contrast, have a clear attitude on emission cut target. They insist that the industrialized countries should slash by 25-40 percent of their emissions to the 1990 levels by the year 2020, he said.

China suggests that the 25-40 percent target of the developed countries should be a "minimum" amount to leave more room for their developing counterparts.

Xie said China and the Group of 77, a bloc of developing nations, have proposed technology transfer as a key measure in the counter-climate change efforts but have only received lukewarm response.

As a major developing country, China believes that a mid-term emission cut target for industrialized countries is crucial to any long-term goal. "Without a mid-term target for them, any long-term target is meaningless," said Xie.

China also opposes to any attempt to re-classify developing countries for differentiating the emission target or to overthrow the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change for starting new negotiations, he said.

Considering setting a mid-term emission cut target as the sticking point of the whole negotiations, Xie said such a target may not be produced in Copenhagen next year due to pending U.S. attitude.

Obama has promised to cut the U.S. emissions down to the level of 1990 by 2020, but the promise would take effect only after the Congressional approval, a process that usually takes a year's time. "A final U.S. decision may miss the deadline of Copenhagen next December," Xie said.

Therefore, China proposes to start negotiations from easier tasks such as technology transfer, financing and adaptation as countries only have disputes in details regarding them, he said.

Next year's Copenhagen meeting, given that the timetable and agenda were already set, will produce an outcome somehow, he said.

"If parties can reach consensus on those issues, that will also be a big achievement in Copenhagen," Xie concluded, adding that the mid-term emission cut target can be left for further discussions afterwards.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2008)

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