News24

China welcomes climate deal

2009-12-20 16:17

Beijing - China on Sunday welcomed the outcome of climate change talks in Copenhagen, the day after a deal reached to fight global warming came in for heavy criticism.

"With the efforts of all parties, the summit yielded significant and positive results," Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was quoted as saying in a statement on the foreign ministry website.

The Copenhagen Accord, passed on Saturday after two weeks of frantic negotiations, was strongly condemned as a backdoor deal that violated UN democracy, excluded the poor and doomed the world to disastrous climate change.

The agreement was assembled at the last minute by a small group consisting of leaders of the US, China, India, Brazil, SA and major European nations, after it became clear the summit was in danger of failure.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson on Sunday hit out at critics of the closed nature of the accord, saying Beijing had always maintained close contact and co-ordination with all countries during the summit.

Stepping stones

"China is a developing nation, we... firmly maintain the development rights of developing countries, and firmly maintain the unity and co-ordination of emerging nations," Qin Gang said in a statement on the ministry's website.

The accord set a commitment to limiting global warming to 2C, but did not spell out the important stepping stones - global emissions targets for 2020 or 2050 - for getting there.

Nor did it identify a year by which emissions should peak, and pledges were made voluntarily and free from tough compliance provisions.

Yang, whose statement never specifically mentioned the accord, said the summit had successfully maintained the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility", which recognises differing economic circumstances between emerging and rich nations.

China, the world's biggest carbon polluter, has always said rich countries should take the lead in committing to substantial emission reduction targets and provide finance to developing countries battling climate change.

The Copenhagen Accord set a goal of "jointly mobilising" $100bn for developing nations by 2020.

Yang added that the summit made a step forward with regards to developed countries' mandatory emissions cuts and developing nations' voluntary mitigation actions.

"Third, it reached broad consensus on the key issues of long-term global targets, funding, technology support (to developing countries), and transparency," Yang said, according to the statement.

China has pledged to reduce carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40% to 45% by 2020 based on 2005 levels.