China blasts claim it 'hijacked' climate talks

AP News
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Posted: Dec 22, 2009 9:14 AM

China dismissed Tuesday a British editorial accusing it of "hijacking" the U.N.-sponsored climate talks in Copenhagen as baseless and politically motivated.

British climate change minister Edward Miliband's editorial singled out Beijing as the culprit behind the talks' near collapse.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the piece seemed designed to sow discord among developing nations.

She said the comments by an individual British politician _ not mentioning Miliband by name _ were an attempt to "shirk the obligations of developed countries to their developing counterparts and foment discord among developing countries, but the attempt was doomed to fail."

At a news conference later, Jiang added that developed countries are "absolutely unqualified to censure developing countries" on climate change since many of them have not honored existing commitments to curb global warming. She didn't specify any countries or say how they fell short.

"China has made arduous efforts," she said. "In terms of attitude and effectiveness of our actions, our measures are on par with any other country."

China has said it will cut "carbon intensity," a measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of production, by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

Miliband wrote in The Guardian newspaper Sunday that most countries _ developed and developing _ supported binding cuts in emissions, but that "some leading developing countries currently refuse to countenance this."

"We did not get an agreement on 50 percent reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80 percent reductions by developed countries. Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries," he wrote.

"We cannot again allow negotiations on real points of substance to be hijacked in this way," he wrote.

Jiang said those responsible for the editorial should "correct their mistakes, fulfill their obligations to developing countries in an earnest way, and stay away from activities that hinder the international community's cooperation in coping with climate change."

The Copenhagen Accord emerged principally from President Barack Obama's meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the leaders of India, Brazil and South Africa. But the agreement was protested by several nations that demanded deeper emissions cuts by the industrialized world.

On Monday, Wen praised the outcome of the talks and China's role in achieving it. He told the official Xinhua News Agency that China "played an important and constructive role in pushing the Copenhagen climate talks to earn the current results, and demonstrated its utmost sincerity and made its best effort."