China rejects UK claims over climate talks debacle

Jiang Yu did not mention Mr. Miliband by name but in comments reported by the Xinhua state news agency, she said statements from “certain British politicians” were “plainly a political scheme.”


The aim, she said, was “to shirk responsibilities that should be assumed towards developing countries, and to provoke discord among developing countries.”

“This scheme will come to nothing,” said Ms Jiang.

Miliband, writing in British newspaper, The Guardian on Sunday, said the vast majority of countries wanted a legally-binding treaty to protect the planet, but it seemed that four or five nations had been keen to “shelve the accord.”

He said China had vetoed two proposed agreements on emissions cuts, “despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries.”

Jiang said Miliband and others behind the editorial should “correct their mistakes, fulfil their obligations to developing countries in an earnest way and stay away from activities that hinder the international community’s co-operation in coping with climate change”.

China reportedly believes it went to the talks in good faith, offering significant proposals, so does not want to be seen to be the cause of the failure to reach a more solid agreement.

China and other big developing countries have long accused the world’s richer economies of failing to offer enough emissions cuts, and of not offering adequate help to other nations struggling to cope with climate change.

On Monday, China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, praised the summit, saying it had been “not a destination, but a new beginning.”

The final accord was reached between the United States (U.S.), China, India, Brazil and South Africa, but is not legally binding.

United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, says the agreement must be made legally binding next year.

Meanwhile, India yesterday hailed the lack of targets and legally binding measures in the Copenhagen climate accord and vaunted the united front presented by major emerging countries at the chaotic talks.

Facing parliament for the first time since the UN talks last weekend in the Danish capital, Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, said India had “come out quite well in Copenhagen.”

He listed a series of accomplishments, including the thwarting of moves to impose binding targets for global reductions in carbon emissions, something India has always rejected.

“We can be satisfied that we were able to get our way on this issue,” Ramesh told lawmakers.

The final accord in Copenhagen, put together by the major emerging and developed countries, has been planned by critics and climate change campaigners for being a weak political statement that is short on specifics.

It set a commitment to limitijng global warming to two degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit). But it did not spell out the important stepping stones – global emissions targets for 2020 or 2050 – for getting there.

Pledges are also voluntary and free from tough compliance provisions to ensure they are honoured.

Ramesh said Brazil, South Africa, India and China — the so-called BASIC countries — had worked as a bloc throughout the two-week meeting in the face of fierce pressure, particularly from rich countries.

“Within the BASIC group, India and China worked very, very closely together,” he said.

“I believe that the BASIC group has emerged as a powerful force in climate change negotiations.”

The BASIC countries met in Beijing to stake out their common position before the Copenhagen meeting, which brought together 194 countries to forge a new climate pact.

India made two climate-related pledges before Copenhagen but stuck rigidly to its insistence that rich countries, who are responsible historically for global warming should bear the burden of mitigating the future problem.

The Copenhagen accord “bears in mind that the social and economic development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries,” Ramesh said.

New Delhi has said it would never allow its per capita emissions to grow beyond the level of the rich world and has also said it will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 20-25 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels — on a voluntary and non-binding basis.

It has consistently refused binding emissions cuts, as well as any peaking year for its emissions, and is wary of any external verification of its actions to reduce its carbon footprint.

Ramesh said New Delhi would continue to work with its allies “to ensure that the interests of developing countries and India in particular are protected in the course of negotiations in 2010 and beyond”.

Mexico will host the annual UN ministerial talks from November 29 to December 10 next year.

Ramesh, who has consistently favoured flexibility in India’s approach, said the country’s climate change strategy “has to evolve and not remain frozen in time.”

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