China Perspective

China supports amendments to Kyoto Protocol

By Sun Xiaohua and Li Xing (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-15 00:29

Copenhagen: China supported the G77 and other developing countries for removing obstacles and speeding up work on amending the Kyoto Protocol, Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief climate change official, told the press later on Dec 14.

China favors that the first installment of climate change fund goes to the African, the small islands and least developed countries that most need them, even though it doesn’t mean that China does not qualify, Xie said.

China is also willing share its experiences and developing cooperative projects with developing countries in mitigation and adaptation of climate change.

An air of disappointment clearly took hold earlier yesterday as African countries and the Group of 77, an alliance of developing countries warned that they would leave the negotiation table of the UN climate change conference mainly because the rich countries want to supplant the Kyoto Protocol and show no willingness to discuss binding emission by 2020.

At a press conference yesterday, African countries said that they refuse to continue negotiations unless talks on a second commitment period to the Kyoto Protocol are prioritized ahead of broader discussions under a second long-term cooperation action track. Australia, Japan and others have succeeded in stopping Kyoto Protocol discussions as a result.

The meetings resumed later during the day and informal consultations among ministers from 48 countries began later yesterday to try to find solutions to “crunch issues” surrounding the two draft documents, Connie Hedegaard, President of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15), said while answering questions raised by delegates at the plenary session.

Meanwhile, the working groups agreed to focus on amendments to Kyoto Protocol, which is the “priority” of the negotiations for an ambitious outcome of the Climate Change Conference, Hedegaard told the delegates.

Emission reduction targets of the developed countries remain one of the thorny issues that hinder the progress in the negotiations, Hedegaard said.

Developing countries have demanded that the developed countries keep up their promise that they made when the Kyoto Protocol was adopted 12 years ago. They called for developed countries to agree to cut greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 40 percent on 1990 levels.

A Switzerland delegate, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that the EU is prepared to work on all the issues, including the work on Kyoto Protocol.

Most delegates from developing countries voiced their strong commitment to the two-track negotiations. One is under the Kyoto Protocol while the other focuses on longer-term and broader issues.

Some developed countries want to converge the two tracks. Critics say the intention is to evade their binding responsibilities under the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in 1997 and set binding reduction targets for 37 rich countries during 2005-12.

One of the major aims for the current negotiation is to set a binding target for developed countries after 2012.
Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International said African countries put the brakes on yesterday, as rich countries reluctance to discuss binding emissions reductions brought chaos to the negotiations.

“Africa has pulled the emergency cord to avoid a train crash at the end of the week. Poor countries want to see an outcome which guarantees sharp emissions reductions yet rich countries are trying to delay discussions on the only mechanism we have to deliver this – the Kyoto Protocol,” said Hobbs. He also said: “This not about blocking the talks – it is about whether rich countries are ready to guarantee action on climate change and the survival or people in Africa and across the world.

He criticized Australia and Japan for crying foul while blocking movement on legally binding emissions reductions for rich countries. “This tit-for-tat approach is no way to deal with the climate crisis.”

China Daily