A Chinese perspective

December 11, 2009

China’s stance on climate negotiation at Copenhagen

-Hengwei Liu

China¹s stance going into Copenhagen had two main components:

1.    Adhere to the UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and Bali Roadmap. The UNFCCC and

its Kyoto Protocol provides the basic framework and legal basis for climate negotiation. The Bali Roadmap affirms the mandate to enhance the implementation of the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, which is, on the one track, to secure the full, effective and sustained implementation of the UNFCCC by making corresponding arrangements in terms of mitigation, adaption, technology transfer and financial support and, on the other track, to determine further quantified emission reduction targets for developed countries for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. This is China¹s basic position and bottom line on the negotiation.

2.    Uphold ŒCommon but Differentiated Responsibilities¹. Developed

countries shall take responsibility for their historical cumulative emissions and current high per capita emissions, and the developed countries should take the lead in cutting gas emissions and honor their commitments to support developing countries with funds and technology transfers. Developing countries will, in pursuing economic development and poverty eradication, take proactive measures to adapt to and mitigate climate change.

In all, the key to a successful Copenhagen Conference lies in the firm commitment to the Convention, its Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Roadmap, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.

Focal Questions at Copenhagen–A Chinese Perspective

1.    Twin-track or single-track: developing countries have firmly stated

their intention to twin-track–UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol‹negotiations.

However, some developed countries advocate to combine the two-track into one track, completely abandoning the ‘Kyoto Protocol.’ Developing countries are concerned that if the ‘Kyoto Protocol’ is canceled, ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ will not have any substance.

2.    Developed countries¹ reduction target: under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto

Protocol, developed countries are supposed to take the lead in notable emissions reductions. In terms of mitigation, developed countries as a whole shall, as their mid-term targets, reduce their GHG emissions by at least 40% below their 1990 level by 2020. And, the quantified emission reduction targets and corresponding policies, measures and actions undertaken by developed countries shall be Measurable, Reportable and Verifiable (MRV). So far, developed countries¹ commitment is far from the 40% reduction target:

the United States proposes 17% cut in emissions form 2005 to 2020, which is about 4% emissions cut below 1990 levels; EU targets 20% reduction by 2020; and Japan pledges to cut 25% emission by 2020 with a precondition of ambitious targets being set by other major emitters.

3.    Developing countries¹ responsibility: Under the UNFCCC, Kyoto

Protocol, and Bali Roadmap, developing countries do not have to accept binding commitments to reduce emissions, verified by MRV regimes. However, some developed countries have proposed to make binding commitments, including MRV, applicable to developing countries.

4.    Financial support and technology transfer: Under the UNFCCC and its

Kyoto Protocol, the developed countries should provide financing, technology transfer and capacity building support to enable developing countries to take nationally appropriate mitigation and adaptation actions. But so far, the developed countries have not made a substantial commitment and neither has there been practical action on this issue.


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