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People's Daily Online>>China Politics

Economic woes put climate funding 'at risk'

By Lan Lan and Li Jing  (China Daily)

10:05, November 23, 2011

BEIJING - Funding by Western nations to help developing countries fight climate change is more important than ever, even though money may be short due to the financial crisis, China's top climate change official said.

The bleak global economic outlook and various policy positions held by some nations have lowered expectations for climate talks in Durban, South Africa, starting on Monday.

"Western countries are facing difficulties," Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

"Addressing climate change is a long-term project while the world's financial woes are temporary."

The Green Climate Fund is on the agenda for the Durban meeting and hopefully progress can be made on long-term financing, Xie said.

Xie, who will again head the Chinese delegation at the Durban meeting, called for nations to adopt an "active and constructive" attitude.

He Jiankun, a laboratory director who specializes in low-carbon energy at Tsinghua University, stressed the importance of the meeting.

"It will be hard to reach any breakthrough at the Durban meeting, but the meeting is critical as it sets the direction and regime for future international climate change negotiations." Developing countries insist on the double-track negotiation mechanism - the UN Framework of Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol - while some developed countries want to combine the two. Disputes in Durban over this particular issue could be heated.

China will firmly stick to its commitments on combating climate change despite the global financial turmoil, Xie said.

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