10 January 2010

More Post-Copenhagen Fallout From China

China is apparently taking a more overtly aggressive tone in its approach to climate policy in the aftermath of Copenhagen. At least that is the impression that one gets from this story in the Sydney Morning Herald:
China has no regrets over its abrasive negotiating tactics at the chaotic Copenhagen climate conference, and says that "the key lesson" for rich countries was that China would not be pushed around.

In the first detailed interview since Copenhagen with Western media by a Chinese official, China's ambassador for climate change, Yu Qingtai, told the Herald that the climate change summit was "a step in the right direction", but repeatedly blamed a breakdown of trust at the conference on rich countries ganging up on China.

"During and before Copenhagen there was a concerted effort by a small group of developed countries who believed that by joining hands [they could] force us to go beyond what we are responsible for or capable of," Mr Yu said.

"But Copenhagen proved that those attempts will not be successful. In fact they should have known better. So what the developed countries need to learn from this whole process is to make up their minds whether they want to pursue confrontation or co-operation with China."

Mr Yu said the underlying fissure at Copenhagen was whether rich countries would honour pledges made at Kyoto and Bali, particularly the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and a US commitment to make cuts comparable with other rich countries by 2050.

A Greenpeace spokeswoman, Yang Ailun, said China's objections were directed mainly at the US but also Canada, Japan and Australia.

Mr Yu would not comment on the performance of the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, at Copenhagen, but said the two countries had previously worked constructively on climate change and he hoped they would do so again.

In November, China made its first "voluntarily" carbon pledge: to reduce the amount of carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 per cent between 2005 and 2020.

Mr Yu said this target was "not negotiable" while other officials over the weekend said China would not permit international verification of its carbon performance.

How anyone thinks that the world is moving towards some grand global treaty is beyond me.