UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol must be strengthened, says Wen

December 18th, 2009 - 9:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Copenhagen, Dec 18 (IANS) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol reflected a broad consensus among all parties and, therefore, it must be further strengthened.
Speaking at the opening session of the final segment of the Copenhagen climate summit here, Wen said the campaign against climate change hasn’t just started and the international community has been engaged in this endeavour for decades now, Xinhua reported.

“The UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol are the outcomes of long and hard work by all countries” and the two documents reflected the broad consensus among all parties and served as the legal basis and guide for international cooperation on climate change, Wen said.

So the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol “must be highly valued and further strengthened and developed,” he said.

Wen said the outcome of the Copenhagen conference must stick to, rather than obscure, the basic principles enshrined in the convention and the protocol and it must follow, rather than deviate from, the mandate of the “Bali Roadmap.”

“It should lock up rather than deny the consensus and progress already achieved in the negotiations,” Wen said, adding a long-term perspective and a focus on the present were needed in tackling climate change.

“In tackling climate change, we need to take a long-term perspective but, more importantly, we should focus on the present. The Kyoto Protocol has clearly set out the emission reduction targets for developed countries in the first commitment period by 2012,” Wen said.

However, a review of implementation showed the emissions from many developed countries had increased rather than decreased and the mid-term reduction targets, announced by developed countries recently, fell considerably short of the UNFCCC requirements and the expectations of the international community, he said.

“It is necessary to set a direction for our long-term efforts, but it is even more important to focus on achieving near-term and mid-term reduction targets, honouring the commitments already made and taking real action,” Wen said.

The Chinese leader said his country’s population of 1.3 billion presented a special difficulty in cutting emissions but it would do whatever was within its capacity to address global climate change.

China’s per capita GDP has only just exceeded $3,000 and, according to UN standards, it still had 150 million people living below the poverty line and faced the arduous task of developing the economy and improving people’s livelihoods, he said.

“China is now at an important stage of accelerated industrialization and urbanization, and, given the predominant role of coal in our energy mix, we are confronted with a special difficulty in emissions reduction,” Wen said.

However, China had always regarded addressing climate change as an important strategic task, he said, adding that, between 1990 and 2005, China’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP were reduced by 46 percent.

“Building on that, we have set the new target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level,” Wen said.

He said China had not attached any condition to its target for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions or linked it to the target of any other country. “This is a voluntary action China has taken in light of its national circumstances,” Wen said.

“We will honour our word with real action. Whatever outcome this conference may produce, we will be fully committed to achieving and even exceeding the target.”

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