US-China clash at climate talks

World's biggest greenhouse emitters accuse each other of blocking progress on curbing emissions at UN conference.

    UN's climate chief says she has confidence that the upcoming UN climate summit in Mexico will yield success [AFP]

    US and Chinese delegates at a climate conference have accused each other of blocking progress on reaching a new global treaty aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

    The world's two biggest greenhouse gas emitters reportedly made "limited progress" throughout the six-day talks, which ended on Saturday, in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin.

    Jonathan Pershing, the US climate envoy, said the biggest problem remained the refusal by China and other developing nations to commit to the UN process of curbing their emissions.

    "We have made some very modest progress. But unfortunately it's been quite limited," Pershing said.

    'Summit in jeopardy" 

    He said the UN's annual climate summit, which is set to take place in less than two months in Cancun, Mexico, was in jeopardy mainly because of China.

    "These elements are at the heart of the deal. And the lack of  progress on these gives us concern about the prospects for Cancun," he said.

    China, on the other hand, insisted all week that the United States and other wealthy nations should do much more to curb their emissions, highlighting their historic responsibility for the problem.

    Su Wei, China's chief climate envoy, said the US was throwing up smokescreens to hide its own inaction.

    "It is not fair to criticise if you are not doing anything," he said.

    'Pig looking in mirror'

    Su earlier referred to a Chinese saying that roughly translates as "a pig looking in a mirror" with reference to the United States and what he said was Washington's refusal to acknowledge its own faults.

    But Christiana Figueres, the executive secretary of the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change. said the rift had not derailed the Tianjin talks and that important progress had been made on specific issues.

    "I would dare say that this week has got us closer to a structured set of decisions that can be agreed in Cancun," Figueres said. 

    "This week governments had to address together what was doable in Cancun. They have actually done that."

    'Confidence in success'

    She said she was confident a plan by rich nations to give developing countries $30b dollars to help them cope with climate change would be finalised at Cancun, helping build trust between the two sides.

    "I have said and I will continue to say that fast-track finance is the golden key to Cancun. I am confident that the golden key will be dutifully unlocked," she said.
     
    Delegates from more than 170 countries joined the latest round of long-running UN negotiations aimed at securing a binding global treaty on how to limit and cope with climate change.

    The treaty would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end  of 2012, and aims to keep global warming below the threshold that scientists warn will trigger catastrophic damage to the world's  climate system.

    World leaders failed to broker such a treaty in Copenhagen last  year as developed and developing nations battled over who should carry more of the burden in curbing greenhouse gases, which are  blamed for global warming.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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