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  • » 10/05/2010, 00.00

    CHINA

    Climate talks in Tianjin as China tries to clean up its image



    The final preparatory round gets underway before the Cancun summit opens later this year. UN climate Chief Christiana Figueres says China’s actions are positive but planning greenhouse gas reduction is difficult to do.

    Tianjin (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The final round of UN climate talks before this year's summit in Mexico, set for 29 November-10 December, got under way in Tianjin, China. The agenda has two key points, namely setting and meeting targets for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the gap between major economies and developing countries. The meeting follows last year's Copenhagen conference on climate change that ended in disarray and without a legally binding deal on cutting gas emissions to limit temperature rises to 2C (3.6F). Time is running since the 1997 Kyoto Protocol is set to expire in 2012. For China, the meeting in Tianjin is the first of its kind held on its territory in 20 years of negotiations.

    China, the world’s largest greenhouse producer, is viewed by many as responsible for the collapse of the Copenhagen summit last year. The Tianjin meeting is thus an attempt by Beijing to clean up its image after the fiasco in the Danish capital.

    Even so, State Councillor Dai Bingguo said at the opening session that China could not do more than what it did last year. Nevertheless, the country continues working on the green shift it launched in 2003, albeit slowly and with many difficulties.

    Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), said that the Tianjin meeting was a positive step; however, “It is absolutely indispensable that China show leadership, accompanied by all other countries, to be flexible in order to be able to reach the compromises that are necessary before Cancun”.

    Many analysts remain pessimistic about the real capacity of China and other key players, especially the United States and European Union, to change their stance and make compromises.

    “The future of the Kyoto Protocol is in doubt because of US attempts to weaken the framework already in place to tackle climate change internationally," said Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth's senior international climate campaigner. “Now, other countries, including Australia and Japan, are racing to put the lowest possible voluntary pledges on the table”.

    For Rehman, rich countries should instead meet their commitments outlined in the Kyoto Protocol, and "agree tough new emissions targets of at least 40 per cent by 2020 (from 1990 levels) without offsetting”.

    "Only action on this scale will give the UN climate summit in Cancun the momentum needed to agree strong and fair action on climate change,” he warned. "If the US is unwilling to demonstrate a similar level of ambition then they should step aside from the negotiations rather than obstruct them."

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    See also

    22/09/2009 CHINA – ASIA – UNITED STATES
    Everyone at UN waiting to see China’s move on green house gases
    China might present an ambitious plan to cut green house gases. Beijing’s posture will also influence that of the United States whose new president is committed to fighting pollution. An agreement between the two countries would be decisive for the fate of the world.

    28/07/2005 LAOS
    Asia-Pacific states and US announce deal on greenhouse gases
    Five of the six signatories generate 40 per cent of world's greenhouse gases and are outside Kyoto Protocol. Environmentalists criticise pact because it is non-binding, lacking compulsory legal obligations.

    27/11/2009 CINA – US – UN
    Wen, Obama and the vague promises of Copenhagen
    Washington and Beijing make grand gestures about reducing pollution, but use different criteria to do so. The Americans will cut emissions over the very high pollution levels of 2005 whilst the Chinese will reduce per capita emissions, which will allow for 50 per cent increase in overall levels.

    07/12/2009 ASIA - UN
    Copenhagen climate conference opens, along with business deals and data manipulation
    Mandatory limits on emissions of carbon dioxide excluded. 10500 billion dollars in investment is needed. Concern for poor countries. The pope's appeal. The scandal of Climagate: scientists have decided to "tamper" with data on global warming to push for action. But according to others the earth is cooling.

    03/12/2007 INDONESIA – UNITED NATIONS
    Bali preparing the after-Kyoto
    A UN-sponsored world conference on climate change opens today in Bali. More than 180 countries are set to look at a new road map to a new agreement on reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants that should be ready for signing in 2009. It should come into effect when the current phase of the Kyoto Protocol comes to an end in 2012. All eyes are on the United States and China, the world’s top contributors to greenhouse gases.



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