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China stands as constructive player in Copenhagen

2009-12-30

    For those who accused China of "hijacking" the Copenhagen climate summit, China's constructive contribution to guaranteeing an achievement of the summit is something they would not like to accept.

    If a legally binding deal is what these people really want, they should be reminded that Jose Manuel Barroso from the European Union, the much-vaunted front runner of fighting climate change, claimed in Washington in early November that no full-fledged binding deal will be inked in Copenhagen.

    On the contrary, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to the Chinese delegation in Copenhagen that "as long as there is hope of one percent, we should not give up and must instead make 100 percent of effort."

    China's deeds in Copenhagen meet its words.

    To make the summit a success, China has shown indisputable sincerity and patience. Prior to the meeting, the Chinese government has voluntarily announced cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of the GDP by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level, roughly 1.5 billion tons of emissions reductions.

    As the world's largest developing nation with a population as huge as 1.3 billion, the commitment was rather a sacrifice for China's domestic development.

    Considering the grave challenges of climate change and the diversity within the international community, a consensus is hard to achieve. Nevertheless, from the very beginning, China has been playing an active role in seeking a viable solution to global warming.

    In working with developing countries for drafting documents, China has been praised by the UN and the host country for seeking common ground while putting aside the existing differences for further discussions.

    Such an attitude could also be seen when China promised to back off and concede the target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial as a target of the final paper.

    At this conference, China has firmly defended developing countries' interests on key issues. China and other developing countries foiled the attempts of some developed countries to mislead the conference on its target of emissions reduction.

    A handful of developed countries made no sufficient efforts to cut emissions in their countries. Instead, they showed little gratitude for developing countries' voluntary mitigation actions and tried to link two reduction targets of different nature together.

    China and some developing countries demonstrated much sincerity when a few developed countries all but derailed the conference by unilaterally producing draft agreements without discussing with other countries.

    On the center issue of international funding for fighting climate change, China has generously pledged not to scramble for acent in the budget with other developing countries if such a fund were to be made available.

    In addition, China has shown enough flexibility to ensure the conclusion of a final agreement.

    At the last minute of the conference, the mechanism of emission verification became a focal point. According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the "Bali Roadmap," developing countries would not accept international verification on voluntary mitigation actions without financial and technical assistance from developed countries.

    In order for the final consensus to be achieved, China actively discussed and mediated with other countries and finally agreed to increase the transparency of its voluntary mitigation actions.

    The sealed Copenhagen accord safeguards the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol on the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."

    China's efforts guarantee the continuation of climate talks and prevent the abortion of the negotiations for over 10 years on climate change.

    The final document serves as a new start for the world to address the issue of climate change and China as a major developing country has made its own contribution. 

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