Climate talks to pave way for Cancun summit

08:23, July 05, 2010      

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Tianjin meeting 'positive' gesture as China is set to introduce new ideas

China will host an additional round of climate talks in October in Tianjin before UN members convene in Mexico's Cancun at the end of this year for a climate change summit, a senior UN official and a Chinese policy insider said on Sunday.

China and the UN are working closely to prepare for the Tianjin meeting, although Chinese authorities have not officially announced it, said UN Under-Secretary General Achim Steiner.

"China's gesture is quite positive," Steiner told China Daily on Sunday when he attended green events at the Expo 2010 Shanghai.

"China will introduce some new ideas and opportunities to move the negotiation forward," said Steiner, who is also executive administrator of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Steiner said that "by hosting a UN meeting, it doesn't mean China, as host government, will determine the negotiation results".

However, as a UN member and host, China can make a "great difference" while UN committees and work groups prepare for the October event.

"Fruitful results in Cancun rely on efforts from all members," Steiner said.

The Copenhagen climate change summit itself was not a total failure even though the Copenhagen Accord is not a legally binding agreement, he said.

"We should work to translate targets and projects made in Copenhagen into formal instruments to fight global warming," Steiner said.

He Jiankun, vice-chairman of the China Experts Panel on Climate Change, confirmed to China Daily that Tianjin is set to host an extra session of UN climate talks in October and the additional meeting will be the last one leading up to the Cancun conference.

"The extra session was added as all believe more preparatory talks would help nations reach more agreements during the year-end negotiations, on which great hope is built," He said. The specific dates of the Tianjin conference are not finalized, he said.

Before the Tianjin meeting, UN members will also hold climate change talks in Bonn from Aug 2 to 6. The Cancun conference will take place from Nov 29 to Dec 10.

Back to basics

Countries participating in the Cancun climate change conference need to "go back to the basics" to rebuild mutual trust for a successful negotiation, Yu Qingtai, China's special representative for climate change negotiations, said on Sunday.

Yu cited the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol as the basic principles for the talks.

"The principles, especially the common but differentiated responsibilities (for developed and developing nations), should serve as the foundation for negotiations. No progress can be achieved if we deviate from such a principle," Yu said on the sidelines of an Expo forum held in Nanjing over the weekend.

Such a principle is key to rebuilding mutual trust among nations, which is the most urgent task for any meaningful results to be achieved from the Cancun conference, he said.

That trust had been "regretfully and seriously" damaged during last year's Copenhagen summit, when a few developed nations failed to live up to their commitments and raised "unreasonable" demands for developing countries which are actually the victims of climate change and should not bear the consequences, Yu said.

Yu also urged developed countries to honor their commitment to provide financial and technological aid to developing nations in the fight against climate change.

Rich nations have pledged almost $30 billion in aid from 2010 to 2012 and up to $100 billion annually by 2020 in the Copenhagen Accord. But so far, there has been no agreement over where the money would be coming from and how it is going to be used.

Yu reiterated the stand that any design and implementation of a climate change policy in China should consider that much of its population is struggling under the poverty line.

Still, the country will spare no effort to adopt proactive measures and achieve the ambitious goal of cutting carbon intensity per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, a voluntary target set by Chinese authorities last November, he said.

China is "doing a lot internally", said Tariq Banuri, director of the division for sustainable development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The way for the international community to tide over the current differences is to find out strategies that can benefit everybody and generate agreements, Banuri said.

Source: China Daily


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