Crisis, hope found at Cancun Climate Conference

16:27, December 07, 2010      

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Halfway into the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico, representatives of nearly 190 countries are having a tough time negotiating on major issues, including the destiny of the second commitment period of the "Kyoto Protocol," funding, technology transfer, reduction of deforestation and forest degradation.

The words and deeds of Japan and other developed countries that are attempting to discard the Kyoto Protocol are becoming the biggest crises facing the negotiations. The "Bali Road Map" and "Copenhagen Accord" require developed countries to continue implementing the mandatory large-scale quantitative emission reduction, and to provide developing countries with funds and technology needed to address climate change in the second commitment period (2013-2020) of the "Kyoto Protocol."

After the negotiations eventually broke up at the Copenhagen climate conference last year, some developed countries have been seeking to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, so as to make major developing and greenhouse gas emitting countries like China, India and Brazil adopt the same simultaneous quantified emission reduction goals as the developed countries.

Developed countries seeking to abandon the Kyoto Protocol at the conference not only run contrary to historical facts and realities, but do not comply with the relevant provisions of international law. Since 1750, the planet’s carbon emissions have totaled over one trillion tons, of which about 80 percent are from developed countries.

In terms of the cumulative per capita carbon dioxide emissions, in 2006 China had 70 tons versus America’s 1,100 tons. At present, China's per capita carbon dioxide emissions stand at 5 tons, while the U.S. is 20 tons.

Based on these facts, "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" stipulates the "common but differentiated responsibilities" principle for the issue of emission reduction, and it stresses the fact that the majority of the historical and current emissions of greenhouse gases originated in developed countries, and the share of developing countries' emissions will increase to meet their social and development needs. The above consensus is the cornerstone of the international climate talks for the next two decades.

In this context, the conference would make some progress and substantial headway in capital and technology transfer, reduction of deforestation and forest degradation as long as it centers on the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Adhering to the principles of "measurable, reportable and verifiable" results, negotiations about international consultation and analysis would also make some progress.

The developed countries made a commitment in 2010 to providing 30 billion U.S. dollars in startup funds to developing countries. Whether the 30 billion U.S. dollars could be implemented ultimately is regarded as one of the significant signs for the substantial progress at the conference.

China has made unremitting efforts to promote progress in the negotiations. The nation has strived to achieve the emission reduction targets for the 11th Five-Year Plan and the goal to reduce the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent of 2005 levels. Simultaneously, China has also actively coordinated the negotiating positions of developing countries through the "China + the Group of 77," "Basic Four" and other platforms in an attempt to safeguard the rational requirements from most developing countries that the developed countries should not abandon the Kyoto Protocol.

Furthermore, China calls on developed countries to transfer capital and technology to developing countries as well as making further commitments on the issue of emission reduction. These efforts have been fruitful and are recognized by the majority of the participating parties.

The Climate Conference in Cancun might not be able to reach an ambitious legally binding agreement in the end, but it can consolidate the ripe consensus in some form, which will lay a foundation for the upcoming international climate negotiations in South Africa in 2012. In light of the World Meteorological Organization's announcement that 2010 is one of the three hottest years in human history since 1850, the climate conference in Cancun, facing challenges and breeding new hopes, will become an important relay stations for human efforts to tackle climate change in order to save the Earth and mankind.

By People's Daily Online


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