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China argues rich countries’ carbon reduction targets are unambitious
China’s top official claims that carbon reduction targets proposed by industrialised nations should be discussed in Cancun Summit.
While officials hoped that latest round of talks would focus on the areas where agreement is likely to be achieved at the upcoming Cancun summit, such as forestry protection and climate financing, China’s head of the climate change office, Su Wei, told reporters that China would use the Cancun Summit to press industrialised nations to increase their carbon reduction targets.
Su Wei reiterated UN warnings that the carbon reduction targets currently proposed by the US, the EU and other industrialised countries should be dramatically raised to avoid temperature rises of more than two degrees. He added that the carbon reduction targets were still far distant from the expectations of developing countries and from what is required according to science, although it was encouraging that industrialised nations had agreed to various carbon reduction targets as part of last year's Cancun Summit.
Moreover, he warned that contentious issue of carbon reduction targets would form a central part of the agenda at the Cancun summit, despite a widespread acceptance that the issue will not be resolved this year and that the focus should shift to areas where the key players are closer to agreement.
Su Wei said that, "To achieve a balanced outcome at the Cancun conference, the emissions reduction targets of developed countries must be discussed…We can't discuss just other elements, but not discuss these emissions reductions."
Developing countries, led by China, argue that the 17% carbon reduction targets that the US has promised to deliver by 2020 and the more ambitious 20% carbon reduction targets pledged by the EU are both insufficient. Instead, they claim that industrialised nations should agree to carbon reduction targets of about 40% by 2020, to allow poorer countries to adopt less demanding targets.
However, the US has consistently maintained that such ambitious carbon reduction targets are unfeasible and has indicated that it would only consider adopting more demanding goals if emerging economies such as China and India also agree to binding carbon reduction targets, which both countries have refused to do.
In the mean time, some delegates hinted that the atmosphere at the Tianjin negotiations has remarkably improved since the previous round of talks in Bonn, Germany. They declared that if that optimism remains some progress can be made on issues relating to the long-term management of climate funding and clean technology transfer.
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