Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

How China Made It an Unfair COP

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

How China Made It an Unfair COP

Article excerpt

The truth about COP15 will not be easy to hear. Yes, the "deal" was atrocious. But what no one seems to get is why hopes were dashed in Copenhagen. The truth is this: a better deal was blocked by powerful nations in the developing world--in particular China. Several of fhose who battled it out on die final night of negotiations confirm this, and say Chinese attitudes at times were deeply shocking.

Consider that the Chinese prime minister, Wen Jiabao, did not deign to attend the heads of state meeting, instead sending an official to sit at the table with Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and other leaders. There is no doubt that this was a diplomatic slight, aimed at the US president. The heads of state were forced to wait as the official went to "consult" his superiors (or to bilaterals with the Chinese premier in a hotel).

I was attached to one of the delegations whose head of government attended nearly all the top--level negotiations among leaders and, as senior adviser, I had the opportunity to be present in the room where the intense negotiations between heads of state took place. What took place in that meeting room and other parallel negotiations is confirmed by multiple high-level sources. These emphasise that it was the Chinese delegate who insisted on tinkering with the 1.5C[Degree] temperature target until it was largely meaningless.

The Chinese and Indians also removed any mention of a peaking year for emissions (essential to keep temperature rises below even 2[degrees]C), or any long-term target for global emissions reductions by 2050, fearing that this would threaten their growth.

Most egregiously, it was China that insisted on the removal of any mention of previously agreed targets for rich countries--suggested as 80 per cent by 2050. It is known that Merkel and Kevin Rudd were incensed at this. …

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