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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Economic downturn no excuse for shirking environmental responsibility

By Xia Wenhui (Xinhua)

17:46, December 06, 2011

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Durban climate change talks have entered a vital stage, with higher-ranking officials trying to work out a deal, or at least a draft, for continuing climate discussions and commitments.

A 130-page draft document released last week for discussion was just a reflection of how vast and deep the divergence is among the 192 members.

Expectations for what the Durban meeting can achieve have been dampened by the economic strains in the developed world, with EU leaders struggling to find a way out of the debt crisis and Washington busy preparing for a fierce presidential election next year.

It is worrisome that the worldwide economic downturn could curtail not only rich countries' commitment to provide billions of dollars to their poorer counterparts to mitigate the climate change effects but also their political will to take practical steps to push climate talks forward.

The European Union, which used to play a vanguard role in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, has already said it will not extend the Kyoto Protocol without a pledge by major emitters to sign a new treaty by 2015, which would go into force in 2020.

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John at 2011-12-15113.231.244.*
China has destroyed it"s environment. The air is polluted with sulfur dioxide and the rivers are polluted with human waste and industrial chemicals. Proposing changes that will take effect in 2020 or 2015 will not work. Saying that China is a developing nation and pollution is expected will not work. People are dying of cancer and other illnesses because of the pollution and the situation will only get worse. China can fix the problem or not, it is your choice

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