Report from China Says Climate Talks Stymied by Political Interests

August 24, 2009

Little progress has been made so far on a new pact to combat global warming, with “commercial and political interests” continuing to prevail, China’s senior climate change official said on Monday.

The vice-director of the National Development and Reform Commission, Xie Zhenhua, said industrialized countries were still attempting to persuade the developing world to accept quantifiable targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by Xinhua news agency.

“Developed and developing countries are still the two major factions and the focus of disagreement remains on each country’s proportion of responsibility for emission reduction, funding and technology transfer,” Xie was quoted as saying. But industrialized countries are ignoring the importance of economic development and flouting the key principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol, he said in a report delivered to China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress.

The first phase of the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012, and negotiations on a replacement accord are scheduled to conclude at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in the Danish capital of Copenhagen in December.

China is already the world’s biggest producer of man-made greenhouse gas, but its per capita emission rates are far lower than the developed world, and negotiators have continued to insist they will not accept mandatory emission cuts in any post-2012 agreement.

In his report, Xie also complained that developed countries have so far not fulfilled their climate change funding and technology transfer commitments. “They have talked much, but not done much,” he said.

(Reporting by David Stanway, Editing by Ken Wills)

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