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Climate envoy takes China's message to Copenhagen

By Sun Xiaohua (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-12-10 06:17
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COPENHAGEN: China is showing its utmost commitment and unprecedented political will to take actions to create a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, China's climate change envoy said Tuesday.

Negotiators from around the world are meeting in Copenhagen for a UN conference to extend and expand the Kyoto Protocol, the UN-backed pact governing countries' actions against climate change up to end of 2012.

"Without any financial and technological support from rich countries, most of China's efforts have been made to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions," said Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister of National Development and Reform Commission.

China declared its ambitious carbon-intensity reduction target a week before the conference started. Beijing decided to reduce the carbon dioxide emission per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent in 2020 from the baseline of 2005. The move will help the country cut emission of approximate 4 trillion tons of CO2, equal to one fourth of the global CO2 emission cut.

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"China has not only a quantified target, but also mapping out the supplementary supports of science and technology, legislation, investment and governmental accountability measurement system," Xie said.

However, after China and other developing countries, made so many efforts to continue the Kyoto Protocol, he said, some rich countries are trying to kill it or to combine the two tracks of UNFCCC - the 1992 framework convention adopted by 192 countries in 1992 to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations - and Kyoto Protocol into a single one.

"Turning two tracks into a single one means the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibility' does not play a role anymore, which will hurt the interests of developing countries and is strictly opposed by Group 77 and China," he said.

"Group 77 and China hope the UN negotiations will follow the Bali Roadmap under the framework of UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol," he said.

The developing countries have urged rich countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent, and to deliver a solid promise on finance and technology, he said.

"The current promise of $10 billion by rich countries is far from the $300 billion - which is about 1 percent of the rich countries' annual GDP - the developing countries require," Xie said.

Unlike the Danish government, China does not have a Climate Ministry. Therefore, Xie plays the role of Chinese climate minister in the UN climate change conference.

He squeezed about half an hour from his extremely full schedule between meetings with the EU delegates and UNFCCC officials to hold a news briefing for the Chinese journalists in the afternoon of the opening day of two-week climate talks.