Government and Policy

China raps sidetracking at Copenhagen summit

By Li Xing and Sun Xiaohua (
Updated: 2009-12-12 22:08

COPENHAGEN: China's climate change talks special representative Yu Qingtai lashed out on some countries for sidetracking the negotiations.

The negotiations have not been easy because "some members are making determined effort to an early end of Kyoto protocol and distract the working group for fulfilling their core mandate," Yu said during the plenary session on Saturday.

Great divide remains between the developing and developed nations as the negotiations start on Dec 12 over the two proposed draft texts of what constitute the core outcomes of the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference. The negotiators are now under pressure to produce some consensus before Dec 15, when the ministerial-level consultations will begin.

While representatives from most developing nations expressed readiness to move forward to hammer out the details in the drafts, negotiators from developed countries cried out for "fairness" in the mitigation efforts.

The draft proposed that developed countries commit themselves to take actions to reduce their collective greenhouse gas emissions by up to 40 percent, that is, up to 45 per cent of the levels from 1990, by 2020.

Todd Stern, the United States State Department special climate envoy, said during the plenary session that in the draft amendments to Kyoto Protocol, the mitigation efforts targeted the countries "responsible for only about a third of global emissions" today.

Makio Miyagawa, deputy director general of Japan's foreign affairs ministry, said at the same plenary session that Japan proposes to "expand the scope of countries responsible for greenhouse gas emissions that include both developed and developing nations."

Yu Qingtai emphasized the fact that all the countries present at the climate talks agreed two years ago on the Bali Road Map, which already spelled out the principles for the coming new deal out of the conference.

However, Yu said there are now stumbling blocks because the countries listed in the annex 1 of the Kyoto Protocol "have not been able to show their political will."

The two documents now under negotiation during the climate change conference are the proposed political document of the conference under discussion within the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-Term cooperative Action and the Amendments to the Kyoto Protocol, which will spell out commitments and actions that nations must take to slow down the global warming.

Representatives from developing countries were almost of one voice hoping for two legally-binding documents.

A negotiator from Senegal said that his country hoped that further work would serve the objectives of the future conventions with principles already contained in the Kyoto Protocol and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which stipulated joint but differentiated responsibilities for developed and developing nations.

Some small island countries continue to demand to consider their proposals for tougher emission cuts targets in the documents for both developed and developing nations.

"The fate of my country rests in your hands," Ian William Fry, International Environmental Officer of Tuvalu, said in a sobbing voice.