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Chinese Climate Negotiator Provides Candid Take on What Happened in Copenhagen

If emissions increase "I say, 'So what?' The people have a right to a better life."

By Guest Writer

Aug 29, 2010

Third, the Copenhagen talks did not collapse. China made an active, important and decisive input. Wen Jiabao engaged in three days of constant diplomacy, telling all sides that the Copenhagen talks had reached a crucial stage – that it was necessary to seek common ground but accept differences, to bridge divides and to form a consensus on which to found future cooperation. Towards the end of the conference, as Wen was about to leave for the airport, he decided to stay for a final attempt at an agreement. He urgently contacted the heads of state of Brazil, India and South Africa, some of whom had to turn back from the airport. Five nations [including the United States] gathered…and got down to discussing the core problems.

The talks focused on two issues. One was long term goals. As disagreement over atmospheric carbon-dioxide concentrations and 2050 emissions targets was too great, these were not covered in the agreement, which specified only a goal of limiting any temperature increase to two degrees Celsius [above pre-industrial levels].

Second was the issue of “measurable, reportable and verifiable” cuts. Developed nations wanted to expand verification to every aspect of developing nations’ economies, including development plans and carbon pathways. What right do they have, I ask? These are plans that we will implement based on our own capabilities – what qualifies them to verify them? Who has given them this right? In the end a compromise – “international consultations and analysis” – was reached. China will report the measures it takes to the international community, and the international community is welcome to discuss them.

Copenhagen triggered some fierce reactions in Europe – one of the reasons being that, despite their leading role in the response to climate change and promotion of the Copenhagen meeting, the European leaders were marginalised on the crucial issues. They were unhappy that, at the critical moment, they had not played their rightful role.

I personally feel that, after Copenhagen, all parties adopted a more peaceful, pragmatic and rational attitude. No longer was there manipulation of the kind seen in the lead up to Copenhagen, when expectations were raised and a single international conference was presented as something that would determine the fate of humanity.

If expectations are lowered, there is a greater possibility of achieving what is expected. If we get a result, great, but if we haven’t finished negotiating, then there is still the South Africa summit next year. In this situation, strategies may change. For example, dialogue and communication may replace the constant pressure on major developing nations to compromise and back down. But there are some things that will not change:

1. The search for cooperation. Although disagreements and conflicts of interests will remain with us in the long term, the global nature of the climate-change issue requires global cooperation. All parties need to seek a basic level of consensus as the foundation for that cooperation. This will not be abandoned.

2. The main disagreements are still over “common but differentiated responsibilities”, and this is particularly apparent when cooperation is actually happening. Developed nations will continue to attempt to pass on their responsibilities, and developing nations will continue to resist.

3. Developing nations will continue to defend their development rights and opportunities. They are not willing to combat climate change if the price is continued poverty

Overall, the post-Copenhagen era will be one where consensus and disagreement, cooperation and conflict, coexist. This will remain the case in the long term.

Personal Conclusions

"Transfers of technology

"Transfers of technology have not been effectively carried out, with some developed nations even hoping to use the technology they control to turn a profit."

Are you kidding me? They ALL are trying to control green tech in order to turn a profit. Al Gore's company is positioned to become the biggest green investment firm in the world. This is going to be achieved by controlling the technology, not giving it away. Where have you ever seen countries give new technologies away for free? I have not seen any country, developed or undeveloped, do this. There is no habit in human nature which would indicate that this will ever happen. The habit is to give it away for money, lots of money.

Cheer up. The climate change scare is over.

mememine You mean now that


You mean now that the science is stronger than ever?

If you want fear mongering, return to Fox News, where you can pick which group to fear or hate this week.

What good does a hate-filled

What good does a hate-filled comment like that do for anyone?


Anyone who supported the Climate Change mistake after 24 years of needless panic was an unconscionable fear mongering liar. Climate Change was the very measure and litmus test of honesty and virtue. To have wished for the CO2 mistake to have been true was sick and inhuman. History has a special place for you intellectual fossils and witch burners of climate change.
You tried like cowards to scare our kids and it is they who are now leading the wave of denier rage and payback. Climate Change was environMENTALism’s Iraq War of lies and WMD’s and had done to science, media and liberalism what Bush did to conservatism. Climate Changers were fear mongering neocons of environmentalism.

Good grief. What good does a

Good grief. What good does a hate-filled comment like that do for anyone?

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