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ENVIRONMENT

China's top Doha negotiator attacks lack of climate control progress

Fears that no concrete deals will be reached this year to slow global warming as 190 nations meet

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 December, 2012, 5:57am
 

China's top climate negotiator has taken a swipe at the Doha climate talks one week into negotiations, complaining of a lack of progress and underscoring concerns that no concrete deals to slow global warming will be reached this year.

A total of 190 nations are in the talks, and ministers began arriving at the weekend for the high-level portion of the meeting, which will begin tomorrow.

But after a week of lower-level meetings, Su Wei, China's chief climate negotiator, was less than optimistic. China News Service quoted him as saying: "It is not clear whether any breakthrough can be achieved."

Little progress has been made on so-called core issues, such as arrangements for a US$100 billion climate fund to help poor countries cut emissions and adapt to the effects of global warming, as well as an extension of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set binding obligations on industrialised countries to limit their greenhouse gas emissions. The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends on December 31, and a second commitment period has not been set.

"Whether the second phase of the Kyoto Protocol should last for five years or eight years, and how to ensure it will be implemented immediately from January 1 have yet to be negotiated," Su said.

The Kyoto Protocol is the only existing global treaty that binds most industrialised nations on their emissions of greenhouse gases, while sparing China, India and other large, emerging economies, which have caught up quickly in carbon emissions.

Only the European Union, Australia, Norway and Switzerland have signalled that they would join a second commitment period of the protocol, while New Zealand, Russia, Japan and Canada have pulled out.

Li Yan, Greenpeace East Asia's climate and energy campaign manager, said nations were not approaching the challenge with a proper sense of urgency, as some disagreements had even emerged in the EU, which used to strongly support extending the Kyoto Protocol but is now struggling to agree on emission-reduction targets.

"Doha is really the only chance left for the Kyoto Protocol," Li said. "But if negotiations continue on this path, the eventual outcome could be very weak pledges to curb greenhouse gas emissions."

Meanwhile, delegates at the negotiations are still at odds with each other over how to address unresolved issues, including how to ramp up funding provided from developed countries to developing ones.

Su lamented that developed countries were unwilling to be more open about how much money they have already put on the table. "They just don't want to do it, and you can't force anyone to do anything," he said.

However, talks for a post-2020 climate arrangement could also put China in the spotlight this week, as such a deal is likely to require China to reduce emissions, according to Li.

Xinhua issued a commentary last night calling China "a responsible player in combating climate change" and blaming "some developed nations" that "evade responsibility and just talk the talk".

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mhaseler
A further thought. It is surprising now that so much in the west is produced in China that the "anti-consumer" campaign groups have not picked out China for the same criticism they usually reserve for the US. But could this change? Could a mistake at Doha by the Chinese delegation lead to a backlash against Chinese products in the West?
mhaseler
After 15 years without warming, even climate researchers are now sceptical of the climate models. So the idea of countries signing up to strangle their economies based on these models is laughable. However, the western press have been jumping over each other to spread the gospel of the true carbon religion whereby our sins of emission will only be redeemed through carbon indulgences freely given (to the same group who are now the only ones who believe in this non-science).
But that doesn't change the fact that many people & politicians in the west are still true believers, nor that some in e.g. India have become converts. But the fact is also that those countries that are most pro this non-science are also those hardest hit by the global recession (for obvious reasons if you are hell bent on destroying your economy its the first to buckle when times get tough).
So, these talks are proving to be very interesting. On the face of it, China should be getting the blame. As one of the biggest producers and certainly the biggest-fastest growing. The logic of the global warming believer is that China is most to blame. But so far none of the blame seems to be sticking and the EU seem to have been set up to take all the blame on themselves. Could that change? "talks for a post-2020 climate arrangement could also put China in the spotlight this week". Could this be a game changer? Could China end up getting all the blame? Interesting times.
tobychun
"even climate researchers are now sceptical of the climate models"
The politicians would love you to believe that but it's simply not the case. Go and have a search on Google Scholar and see what climate scientists are actually saying. The disagreement amongst climate scientists is regarding if it's already too late to do anything, and how much emissions need to be cut by 2050 to allow at least 50% of the human population to remain alive past 2100. Basically we can either cut the use of fossil fuels out completely within the next 30 years, or the next generation are going to be eating each other. Problem is, if we cut out fossil fuels then the planet can only support a human population of 500 million so the other 6.5 billion will have to die from malnutrition, lack of water, no medical services (can't make or use medical equipment without electricity), etc. Damned if we do and damned if we don't, and politicians don't stay in power by reducing the standard of living. We simply don't have another source of energy that can take the place of fossil fuels. Renewables may cope with demand in future, but at the moment the technology is a joke.
joyalsofi
Sounds like the negotiations are going nowhere and taking our species future with them. Negotiating amongst ourselves and agreeing on nothing or even concluding with a minimal agreement will mean less than nothing when we discover that Mother Nature doesn't negotiate and isn't bound by the terms of any agreement we humans make.

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