Stay course with Kyoto Protocol

Updated: 2011-11-28 08:50


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BEIJING - As negotiators are gathering in Durban for climate talks, the fate of Kyoto Protocol is in their hands. With its first commitment period expiring next year and no substantial progress achieved in talks for its second commitment period, the accord and the international climate change regime are at stake.

Moreover, several developed countries are openly rejecting the second commitment period, while other Western nations are backing down from their earlier commitments to the Kyoto Protocol.

However, abandoning the Kyoto Protocol, seen as a major step backward in the global efforts to tackle climate change, would mean invalidating the only existing legally-binding international agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, the Kyoto Protocol has laid out different responsibilities for different countries at different development stages. It has taken all parties' interests into account by achieving the ultimate goal of cutting emissions through several commitment periods.

Developed countries emitted most of the greenhouse gas during their industrialization process. Therefore, they should take more responsibilities in this regard rather than asking developing countries to do more.

As the world witnessed a rapid process of globalization, the developed countries have shifted their high energy consuming and polluting plants to their developing counterparts, thus transferring more carbon emissions to the latter.

Such a tactic has seemingly solved the emissions problem in the developed countries, which, however, only deceives themselves because the total amount of emissions worldwide has not changed.

It is true that national interests are supreme in the international relations. Nevertheless, in the face of a global challenge, the developed countries should change their selfish ideas as the planet that the human beings are living in has been threatened.

Therefore, it is time for the developed countries to stop chiding the developing countries, show more sincerity and flexibility, and follow the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, so as to work together with the developing countries to curb carbon emissions.

Technologies in the fields of renewable, clean and new energy have been obtained mostly by developed countries, which should be transferred to developing countries for the common goal of mitigating the effects of climate change.

The move will not only stimulate their stagnant economy, but also meet the demand of the world to relieve the pressure by climate change.

Furthermore, developed countries have to respect the development rights of developing countries. It is unfair and unreasonable to contain the growth of the developing countries by binding emissions.

From Copenhagen to Cancun, negotiations on climate change have achieved little progress in forging a consensus, which made the legal foundation of such regimes at stake.

It is expected that in the South African city of Durban the international community would pay more attention to joint actions that can break deadlock, narrow gaps between countries and push forward global efforts to curb carbon emissions.