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Wealthy countries sabotaging climate talks, China says
‘OBSTACLES’: The head of China’s delegation to talks last week said some governments hoped to scrap principles that are key to the Kyoto Protocol

Sunday, Oct 11, 2009, Page 5

China accused rich countries of undermining key elements of an international climate change agreement that nations hope to agree by the end of this year, adding to a chorus of discord over the negotiations.

Su Wei (蘇偉), who led Beijing’s delegation to climate treaty talks in Bangkok that ended on Friday, said splits over the framework for a new pact to fight global warming remained “quite large,” just two months before negotiations culminate in Copenhagen.

China, the world’s biggest developing country and biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from human activity, is at the heart of those disagreements.

Su told Xinhua news agency that rich countries were seeking to abandon key principles of the Kyoto Protocol, the treaty that governs nations’ efforts to address climate change up to the end of 2012.

Negotiators have been wrestling with whether to extend Kyoto into a second commitment period from 2013, amend the pact or create a new one, a step many developing nations resist.

Kyoto obliges rich countries to make quantified commitments to cut emissions of greenhouse gases that are stoking global warming, while developing countries do not have to assume quantified emissions targets.

Su said that any attempt to abandon the Kyoto Protocol “gravely violated the fundamental basis of the international climate negotiations,” Xinhua reported yesterday.

“With so little time left for negotiations, proposing a new plan that fundamentally violates the basis of negotiations is in effect setting up new obstacles to their progress,” he said.

Su heads the climate change policy division of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, an agency that steers economic policy and dominates global warming policy. He made the comments on Friday, Xinhua said.

The Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change should form the two tracks guiding negotiations, Su said.

“If one of these tracks is abandoned, then the climate negotiations train won’t be able to head smoothly towards Copenhagen,” he said.

His warnings came after a chorus of similar rancor in Bangkok, where senior delegates from developing countries walked out of a session this week saying they would not discuss a future without the Kyoto Protocol climate pact.

Negotiators have been trying to find a formula that will bring the US and developing nations into a framework that commits all nations to curb their emissions to prevent dangerous climate change.

Many developing nations want industrialized countries to cut emissions by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.
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