Interview: Stick to Bali roadmap, says Chinese top climate negotiator

07:08, June 19, 2011      

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The implementation of the Bali roadmap remains the core element in the UN's major climate conference in Durban, South Africa, later this year, Su Wei, head of Chinese delegation in Bonn climate talks told Xinhua.

China expects the Durban ministerial-level meeting, scheduled from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, will solidly advance the negotiating process in both working groups, one under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the other the Kyoto Protocol, Su said.

The core issue in Durban is to continue to put into practice the Bali roadmap, which was agreed by all parties in late 2007 and sketched out main schedule for climate talks afterwards, Su said.

To be more specific, in Durban, developed countries should make progress on extending the Kyoto Protocol and setting new emission cuts targets, and those rich nations refusing Kyoto have to make "comparable commitments" under the Convention.

"Long-term climate funding will be another focus in Durban," he said. "Until now, there are no concrete financial aid promises from developed countries beyond 2013. The political will of those countries for long-term funding is not enough."

In the 2009 Copenhagen summit, developed countries pledged to offer 30 billion dollars of "fast start" aid from 2010 to 2012, aiming at helping poor nations combat climate change and obtain clean-energy technology.

"Some fast start funds listed by rich countries are not 'new and additional financial aid' as required in Copenhagen, some of which are double counted," he said.

"We must find solutions to mid-term funds from 2013 to 2020 in Durban, and developed countries should fulfill their commitments in Copenhagen and Cancun," Su said.

Last year's Cancun deal included a formation of so-called Green Climate Fund, in which developed countries would channel 100 billion dollars of climate funding per year by 2020. But how to raise and allocate the money remained unclear.

"On long-term finance, some developed countries stressed innovating sources of money, such as introducing market mechanisms and global carbon tax, aviation and shipping tax. It is concerned that some means would transfer the obligation of financing to developing countries themselves," Su said.

Since this year's decision-making summit is hosted in Africa, the meeting should pay special attention to concerns of African countries, many of which are most vulnerable to climate change and urgently need technological and financial support from rich countries, he said.

Su Wei, who leads Chinese delegation in the second round of UN climate talk this year in Bonn, said that the June session is " practical, focusing on concrete issues."

"As a whole, the negotiating process is moving forward step by step and in the right track," he said. "Despite setbacks and disputes, parties are taking negotiations seriously and willing to promote the talks under the 'Bali road map'."

"During the meeting, contact groups are busy making informal consultations on various topics. Consensuses are in the making," Su said. "In Cancun last year, parties pushed forward series of arrangements on adaptation, technology transfer and financing. And now delegates began to discuss these projects, like Green Climate Fund, in detail.

"We hope that Durban could make headway in activating these mechanisms and achieving a comprehensive and balanced implementation of the Bali Roadmap," he added.

Su also noted that "on some key areas, there is still gaps among parties", and the future of the Kyoto Protocol became one of the most concerned issue.

Kyoto, the only global pact legally binding 37 rich countries to cut emissions, is set to expire at the end of 2012. Japan, Canada and Russia said they would not set foot in the treaty's second commitment period and demand a new treaty that covers all major emitters, including developing nations like China and India.

The United States, which never ratified the treaty, said it would not accept any legal deal unless other major economies have similar emission constraints.

The European Union (EU), the main backer on the renewal of Kyoto, said it would not unilaterally extend the pact if other major economies were not to boost emission cuts efforts in a parallel way.

"Developing countries hold that preserving Kyoto is the key to success of Durban," Su said. "The Cancun agreement asked for " no gap" between the first and second commitment periods, meaning that there has to be an extension of commitment period."

"Some countries like Japan want to change the existing legal architecture and weaken the "common but differentiated responsibilities" principle, and it will face a unanimous opposition from developing countries," he said.

Su told Xinhua that the Group of 77 and China had carried out technical and political consultations in Bonn with the EU, the last major bloc of rich nations that is open to the renewal of Kyoto, hoping that the EU would adhere to the second commitment period and ensure a fruitful Durban conference.

"The EU seems to have learnt about the concerns and views of developing countries," Su said, "The EU have not changed its basic positions, but it might realize that extending Kyoto and enjoying the benefits from global carbon market mechanisms is consistent with its own interests."

"Developing countries hope to jointly promote the negotiating process with the EU, but it is still uncertain whether the latter would take a major political step," he added.

Scientists and a UN panel of climate change have proposed developed countries to cut 25 to 40 percent in carbon emission on the level of 1990, in order to avoid severe consequence of climate change. However, the commitments made so far by developed countries collectively amount to only a 13-17 percent cut.

Su urged developed countries to considerably raise their targets of curbs, adding that many developing countries have been taking ambitious mitigation actions; even they have no mandatory caps.

"From 2006 to 2010, China has cut the amount of carbon produced per unit of economic output by 19.1 percent, compared that in 2005, equivalent to reduce 1.5 billion tons of carbon emissions, which made great contribution to combating climate change," Su said.

Source: Xinhua
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