Negotiator Su Wei at the climate conference in Lima. Photo: Xinhua

China rejects US-sought carbon pledge review at UN climate talks

Negotiators seek to remove draft provisions for targets to be subject to other countries' scrutiny

China has rejected the scrutiny of efforts to limit carbon emissions, a key tool that the US says is necessary as more than 190 countries work to come up with a new deal to fight climate change.

Chinese negotiators sought at a climate conference in Lima, Peru, to delete provisions in a draft text that would have paved the way for other countries and non-governmental organisations to submit questions about its carbon-reduction plans, according to environmental groups that are official observers to the talks. The pledges will be included in a global deal to be sealed next year and that starts in 2020.

US lead climate envoy Todd Stern told reporters that all national pledges should be subject to scrutiny by other countries, saying "the sunshine is intended to prod countries to be as ambitious as possible" in limiting carbon emissions.

The United States and China last month jointly announced efforts they plan to make under the new climate deal.

"The spirit of constructive cooperation of the US-China agreement seems to have come to a full stop," Liz Gallagher, senior adviser to the policy analyst group E3G, said on Saturday in an interview in Lima, where two weeks of UN climate talks began last Monday.

Chinese negotiator Su Wei did not immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment.

"This is exactly the kind of risk that we face when hard lines are taken by parties," Tasneem Essop, a spokeswoman on climate policy for the environmental group WWF International, said. "It's early days … so we do hope that arties will soften their lines."

Essop said her remarks referred to all nations. She also criticised what she called a "slash-and-burn" exercise by the United States, European Union, Australia, Canada and New Zealand to remove any reference to a review of the commitments they had made to cut emissions before 2020.

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: China turns down US plea for review of carbon pledge