Tue, December 22, 2009
China > China & World > UN Climate Change Conference 2009

Copenhagen bickering continues

2009-12-22 00:46:04 GMT2009-12-22 08:46:04 (Beijing Time)  Global Times

Wrangling between developed and developing countries over the disputed "Copenhagen Accord" continued Monday, despite the frantic two-week UN climate talks having ended over the weekend.

While Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao insisted that China played an "important and constructive" role in pushing the conference to its results, Britain said the meeting turned into a farce, putting the blame on Beijing.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a strong response Monday to Britain's criticism of China, reproaching the remarks by certain British officials as "clearly having a political scheme."

"Their purpose is to shift their responsibility of helping developing countries and to create tensions in China's relations with other nations. Such a scheme won't succeed," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told the Global Times Monday.

"We urge them to correct their mistakes, earnestly fulfill their duty in helping developing countries and not to disturb the international cooperation on curbing climate change," Qin said.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown Monday accused some countries of holding the UN climate summit to ransom as bitter accusations swirled over the outcome of the negotiations.

While Brown refrained from naming countries, his climate-change minister, Ed Miliband, said China had led a group of countries that "hijacked" the negotiations, which had at times presented "a farcical picture to the public."

The agreement finally put together by a select group of leaders set no target for greenhouse-gas emissions cuts and is not legally binding - omissions that Miliband blamed on Beijing.

"We did not get an agreement on 50 percent reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80 percent reductions by developed countries," he wrote in yesterday's The Guardian. "Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries."

Miliband's aides told the daily that Sudan, Bolivia and other left-wing Latin American governments were included in the criticism.

On the same day, Wen defended Beijing's position, saying China "had expressed its fullest sincerity and made its utmost effort."

The Copenhagen Accord, Wen said, set "long-term goals" for the global community in addressing climate change, and "this is the result of the efforts from all sides and has wide approval. This result did not come easy and should be cherished."

"China is willing to push forward continued progress on international cooperation on climate change and make the necessary contributions on mankind's efforts to address climate change," the premier said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency.

Pang Jun, a climate scholar at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times Monday that it's not surprising for the quarrels to continue after the Copenhagen summit.

"As one of the main backers of this climate summit, the EU lost shine and later became a supporting role," he said. "Britain was apparently venting its anger for that."

The accord reached Saturday, brokered by several countries, including the US and China, set a goal of "jointly mobilizing" $100 billion a year in climate aid for developing nations by 2020, but didn't pin down industrialized countries to targets. That will now be subject to continuing talks next year. The UN climate conference agreed to "take note of" the accord.

Many environmentalists and NGOs were not satisfied with the deal, which lacked many elements they considered crucial, including firm targets for mid- or long-term reductions of greenhouse-gas emissions and a deadline for concluding a binding treaty next year, and most of them put the blame on the US.

The Washington Post commented Sunday that China made a compromise at the summit Friday, agreeing to stronger verification language - that is, reporting every two years on its voluntary actions, subject to "international consultations and analysis."

China has always opposed verification, while the US made any deal contingent on international verification of emission cuts made by nations, seeing it as key to winning over skeptical lawmakers on Capitol Hill who are still resistant to sweeping climate-change legislation at home.

The New York Times reported yesterday that President Obama may have improved his chances for passing global warming legislation in the Senate by forging an interim international agreement that puts both rich and poor countries on a path to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions.

"While much work still needs to be done before the interim Copenhagen Accord becomes a legally binding treaty, it won some early praise from some who are key to moving a climate bill through the Senate," the report said.

"Whenever you have developing countries, and certainly China and India stepping forward and indicating that they have a willingness to be a participant, I think that's a strong indicator that we'll have opportunities to be working, and I think that that is progress," Senator Lisa Murkowski was quoted as saying.

Yu Miao contributed to this story

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