China: 'Extend Kyoto Protocol'

Updated: 2011-11-26 08:11

By Ma Liyao (China Daily)

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Durban talks should give priority to commitment, spokesman urges

BEIJING - China on Friday said extending the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period should be the top priority at the upcoming global climate talks.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement to set binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 to 2012.

It is also the only current legal binding document to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto Protocol could be in jeopardy if countries fail to reach an agreement on an extension at the Nov 28 to Dec 9 talks in Durban, South Africa, held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"When it comes to tackling climate change, countries should follow the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, fairness and individual capabilities," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a news conference on Friday.

The remarks came in response to the European Union's announcement that it would propose a new "roadmap" leading to a global deal by 2015 and implementation by 2020 at the Durban meeting.

Developed and developing economies are faced with different emissions trends, Liu said.

He called on all countries to show more sincerity, enhance mutual understanding and boost cooperation so as to seek comprehensive and balanced results from the Durban conference.

The conference will bring together delegates from nearly 200 governments to negotiate further actions to address climate change.

China, a developing economy, is the world's top carbon emitter overall, but ranks much lower per capita.

The United States, the second-largest emitter overall and one of the largest emitters per capita, has not signed the Kyoto Protocol.

China's actions in reducing carbon emissions and its effects are "second to no other developed economies", Liu said, adding that China will adhere to a low-carbon development path and contribute to global efforts in addressing climate change.

Funding from developed economies to fight climate change will be another major concern at the Durban conference, as the economic situation remains tough for many.

The US has refused to sign a blueprint for the Green Climate Fund, a flagship global climate change fund brought up last year to channel up to $100 billion a year by 2020 to help developing economies fight climate change, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

China has said that funding from Western nations to help developing economies fight climate change is more important than ever, even though money may be short due to the financial crisis.

"Western countries are facing difficulties," Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Tuesday, adding that addressing climate change is a long-term project while the world's financial woes are temporary.

Xinhua and AFP contributed to this story.