China eyes Paris climate pact

Updated: 2014-12-05 14:27

By Lan Lan in Lima, Peru(China Daily USA)

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The new global climate agreement to be signed next year in Paris should cover all elements, the deputy head of China's delegation at the United Nations climate talks in Lima said on Thursday.

Su Wei, China's chief climate negotiator, said China has an open mind on the final term used to define the Paris agreement. Either it will be a "protocol" or other form with a legal force, he said at the climate change talks in Lima that started on Monday and conclude Dec 12. "First we need to determine the substances and let the substances to determine the form," said Su.

The adopted agreement should address all elements, including mitigation, adaptation, financing, technology transfer and transparency of action support, he said.

China favors a 10-year commitment over a five-year period because it will provide more accountability for the market to follow, he said, whereas a five-year period could mean too much time spent on negotiation.

"Those actions will be very much facilitated by the role to be played by the market mechanisms," said Su, also director general of the climate change department under the National Development and Reform Commission.

The conference's agenda calls for countries to put forward contributions to the 2015 agreement in the form of intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) early next year.

China is preparing its INDC and plans to unveil a package of post-2020 actions in the first half of 2015, but will try to put it forward at "an earlier date," Su said.

Last month, in a joint announcement Beijing said it would aim to peak its emissions around 2030, the first time it has set a maximum year, and the United States said it would seek to reduce emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Besides the goals announced in the joint announcement, Su said goals to markedly reduce carbon intensity and boost forest conservation will be included in the package.

The joint announcement made by the two countries does not necessarily blur the distinction between developed and developing countries, he said.

"It's not an announcement of joint actions, not an announcement of joint objectives, it's a joint announcement of respective enhanced actions for the period after 2020," said Su, adding the significance of the joint announcement was to inject momentum to the climate talks.

Another key decision to be made in the Lima talks is the finance issue. A total of $9.7 billion has been put on the table for the UN Green Climate Fund (GCF), however, that's "far from adequate", said Su. Developed countries pledged to mobilize $100 billion per year for supporting developing countries by 2020.

"Ten billion is only one-tenth of that objective and we don't have a clear roadmap or picture of meeting that target," said Su.

He said "it is not good news" if Australia refuses to provide any money to the GCF.

Adaptation is another agenda item in the talks in Lima. "We want to put adaptation on the same footing as mitigation. The impact of climate change is not in the future, it's happening now," said Su.

The year 2014 is on track to be the warmest year on record, a UN weather agency said on Wednesday.

Su called for delegates in Lima to speed up the negotiation process and start real negotiation, and he said it's a general consensus among developing countries "to put text on the screens".

Screen or no screen has become an issue hindering the climate-change talks in Lima, said observers.

In the past three days, many developing countries demanded that the text of draft decisions, including matters regarding the 2015 Paris agreement, be put on a screen and then countries would change the text as they made their proposals.

But two co-chairs of the working group appeared intent on continuing what they had done in the previous year and merely listen to comments and proposals made by the parties and then produce new versions of the draft-decision text.

"This was considered to be not a party-driven but a chair-driven process by many of the developing countries," said a statement of The Third World Network, a non-profit organization

China said the approach for the past year has not been one of real negotiations and added that it was concerned by the co-chair's proposal that the "secretariat takes notes" of the proposals by parties and "take it back home to cook in your kitchen", according to officials of Oxfam, a non-profit organization, which is taking notes at the talks.