Verdant Mountains Cannot Stop Water Flowing; Eastward the River Keeps on Going
— Premier Wen Jiabao at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao addresses the leaders plenary session of United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009 in Copenhagen December 18, 2009. [Xinhua]
BEIJING: On 19 December, the Copenhagen climate change conference finally produced major and positive outcomes after complicated and tortuous negotiations. The Copenhagen Accord issued at the conference firmly upheld the basic framework and principles established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, further clarified the due obligations and actions of the developed and developing countries respectively according to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities", and reflected international consensus regarding the long-term goal for addressing climate change, financing, technology, transparency of actions and other issues.
From 16 to 18 December, in the nearly 60 hours Premier Wen Jiabao spent in Copenhagen, he held intensive talks and consultations with other leaders to drive the negotiation process forward. We, as members of the travelling press corps, witnessed the roller-coaster, nail-biting negotiations at Copenhagen. But more importantly, we experienced the sincerity, confidence, resolve and effective efforts Premier Wen brought to Copenhagen, which fully demonstrated China's image as a responsible big country dedicated to development and cooperation.
In his important speech at the high-level segment of the conference, Premier Wen reiterated the consistent position of the Chinese government. He called on all sides to build consensus and strengthen cooperation to advance the historical process of combating climate change. Confronted by the complicated situation in and outside the Bella Center, Premier Wen was undeterred. With the strongest political will and patience, he shuttled between participating leaders and engaged them in dialogue and consultations. At the critical moment when the negotiations faced the risk of a breakdown, he personally talked to various parties and helped the conference reach the final accord with his painstaking and thoughtful efforts.
History will remember the important contribution of the Chinese government to the success of the Copenhagen conference.
"He who is cautious may seem timid in the beginning, but his mettle will shine through in the end." Always well prepared, Premier Wen Jiabao thought carefully on how to ensure a successful conference before leaving for Copenhagen.
The argument between developing and developed countries on global warming has grown ever more heated in recent years. As the largest developing nation, China has made enormous and effective efforts to conserve energy and control emissions.
On 26 November, the Chinese government announced the target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent from the 2005 level by 2020. The announcement was widely applauded by the international community. It was also announced on that day that Premier Wen Jiabao would attend the Copenhagen conference.
After the opening of the conference on 7 December, Copenhagen became a stage of intense wrangling between national governments, interest groups, NGOs and research institutes. But the unending arguments, talks and negotiations never seemed to have gotten very far and an enormous gulf remained between divergent positions. The clock was ticking, and a pervasive sense of pessimism and despair began to fill the conference center.
At 15:00 on the afternoon of 16 December, the plane carrying Premier Wen and the Chinese delegation took off from Beijing and started the journey to Copenhagen.
"It is a huge task to attend the conference on behalf of the Chinese government. I am deeply aware of the heavy responsibility upon me," Premier Wen said to the travelling press corps on board the plane. "On my way to the airport, I thought of two ancient sayings. One is 'He who is cautious may seem timid in the beginning, but his mettle will shine through in the end', and the other is 'Thorough planning at the outset will serve one well in his ensuing endeavors'. In other words, if you think carefully as you embark on a mission, you will be able to act with courage and resolve."
In fact, the premier's journey to Copenhagen had started well before this day. In the run-up to the conference, he visited the China Meteorological Administration and had a number of telephone conversations with foreign leaders.