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China calls on rich nations to deliver on climate pledges

Updated: 2009-12-12 15:35

China on Friday urged the rich nations negotiating in the UN-led climate talks in Copenhagen to help seal a deal by delivering on their promises to cut carbon emissions and provide financial support to help developing nations adapt to global warming.

The call comes as ministers arrive for the higher segment of the talks that are tasked with achieving goals to avoid irreversible change in climate that scientists warn could be disastrous to the Earth. China's Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said he hoped for a "balanced outcome" of the UN climate change conference.

He was speaking at a press conference hours after a draft text for the Copenhage talks emerged. "The final document we're going to adopt needs to be taking into account the needs and aspirations of all countries," particularly the most vulnerable ones, he said.

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Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developed nations are committed to quantified emission reduction targets and provision of support in financing, technology and capacity building to developing nations. The Chinese minister said climate change is "a matter of survival" for developing nations.

Developing nations are asking the rich nations to up their emissions reduction targets and financial pledges, saying they failed to fulfil their obligations under the convention.

The call for funding was partly answered earlier on Friday with European Union leaders pledging 2.4 billion euros ($3.5 billion) annually from 2010 to 2012 to help developing countries tackle global warming.

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the 27-nation bloc, said in Brussels that the bloc has made satisfactory contributions to helping the poorest countries combat climate change.

Developing nations still view the pledge as a far cry from their needs.

The issue of financial support is "extremely important" as developing nations are "worst hit" by climate change, he said.

He questioned the "sincerity" of developed nations in their commitment as only short-term funding, such as a three-year target, was being proposed.

The key to the success of the Copenhagen talks is for developed countries to keep their promises, he said.

"I would urge all leaders from developed countries to keep their promises, to have the future of humanity in their minds, especially the large population out there in the developing world," he said.

He also said China has "a responsible and pragmatic vision" for tackling climate change and will do its share in the global combat against climate change.

China last month announced it would reduce the intensity of carbon emissions per unit of its GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent against 2005 levels.

Responding to rich nations' concern over transparency of China's voluntary action, he said plans for action would go through China's own legal process and there would be a regime of monitoring, verification and statistical supervision domestically to ensure transparency.

"We're also willing to increase transparency by announcing the results of our action in reports coming out of China," he said.