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China calls for countries' biggest common in climate talks

China's top climate change official on Oct 7 called for compromise from all parties to seek the biggest common ground during the UN climate talks while developed and developing countries remained divided on many issues.

Parties at the talks should rebuild mutual trust and improve sense of responsibility as climate change is a global issue affecting every country, Xie Zhenhua, vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, told the press on the sidelines of a new round of UN climate talks held in Tianjin from Oct 4 to 9.

"The best result of the global climate talks may be a solution that dissatisfies every one but is accepted by all," he said. "To reach the result, every party needs compromise and work to find the biggest common ground. If one country refuses to do anything and ask others to do many, this is definitely not acceptable."

When asked about one of the most controversial issue on how to manage the fast start fund, Xie said, as a developing country, China is fully qualified to receive funds and technical supports from developed countries.

"But, provided that the amount of current fast start fund is much less than what developing countries need, China would not compete with those who need the money most such as the least developing countries and island countries," he said.

Jonathan Pershing, who leads the US negotiators at the Tianjin meeting, said on Oct 7 that there should be a differentiation between offering finance for developing countries as some countries clearly have enormous capabilities, even though they are listed in the developing country list, while some countries, although in the developing country list, have virtually no capabilities.

Countries like China can do a great deal, and have made very clear that they intend to do a great deal, he told reporters.

"It (China) has made commitment that was made on a series of actions on intensity, on renewable energy and on forests that are examples of what a really powerful country with enormous commitment can deliver," he said.

Xie Zhenhua said China will also provide as much assistance to these countries as it is able to, through South-South cooperation.

"We are not only saying it but have also begun doing it. In the past few years, we have provided training programs to people from least developed countries and worked with them in programs to cope with climate changes," Xie said.

However, Xie strongly argued that developed countries should actually add new money in the fast start fund as a majority of current identified fast start fund was in fact included in the existing Official Development Assistance (ODA).

"After so many years of talks, the developed countries have not honored their commitments (of offering financial and technical support to developing countries on climate changes). It is the time to fulfill their promises," Xie said.

Despite of developed nations's grievances, wealthy nations like the United States insisted their financial support was more than enough.

Pershing said the $30 billion pledged by rich countries are 10 times as much money as they have provided over the course of last decade. But countries now said it was "yesterday's news."

"I think it is very very odd to have a negotiating process when you reach an agreement and a day after the agreement is done, you dismiss it as irrelevant. We don't think that's fair," he said.
 
"So just for climate change, we made a commitment almost double all of the world's assistance. So an enormous commitment was made in Copenhagen, and I think no one seemed that," he said.

New path outside UN?

Commenting on the idea of a new way outside the United Nations raised by the United States, Xie said China will stick to the principle of reaching consensus through broad consultation.

The US proposal of small group discussions where decisions are made by some major countries will not be accepted by a majority of countries, though the current UN talks do face the problem of low efficiency, he said.

"We think that small group discussions can supplement the UN talks," he said.

China suggested to hold minister-level talks of some representative countries where they can close the difference at the UN talks and reach common understanding. The results of such talks can be brought back to the UN talks and speed up the broad consultation, he said.

"We should learn the lesson from the Copenhagen Accord reached after negotiations by some countries while many others did not think they participate in the consultation and refused to accept it," he said.

Source:Xinhua
Date:Oct 09,2010