Speaking to journalists yesterday (22 March) in Brussels, Su Wei, general director of the climate change department at the Chinese Development and Reform Commission, stressed countries should continue negotiations under the two-track approach embodied by the Kyoto Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Wei was in Brussels for a meeting with EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. During their "candid and very frank exchange of views," he spelled out China's intention to form a constructive partnership with the EU ahead of the UN-led climate conference in Cancún next December.
China has underlined the need to implement the Copenhagen Accord with political consensus between all parties to sustain the political momentum on fighting climate change that has attracted the attention of millions of people.
"The EU wants to maintain a leading role and it should maintain it," said Wei. "But it should do so under the Bali roadmap," he added, stressing that China has always favoured a dual-track negotiation process whereby rich countries maintain under the Kyoto Protocol their legally-binding emission reduction commitments and other countries make comparable efforts along the UNFCCC track.
Wei said he hoped the EU would stick to its commitments and even raise its target to 30% emission reductions by 2020. "It should go up to 30% but not before the US states its target," he said.
The Chinese climate chief noted that unless the US comes up with a legally-binding emission reduction target, the outcome of the Cancún climate conference will be difficult to predict. "We are not pessimistic now that the US has passed the health bill," Wei said, noting that Washington could now turn its attention to climate legislation.
Last June, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed a cap-and-trade bill that would require reductions in industrial greenhouse gas emissions and would allow pollution permits to be traded on a new regulated market, modelled on the EU's emissions trading scheme. But the global warming bill is stuck in the Senate, where some members have been trying to find a compromise.
Wei is convinced that if the EU tries to bridge the divide between developed and developing countries, which triggered the collapse of talks several times last year, the resulting trust and solidarity could lead to a global deal.
"The EU, united with developing countries, should jointly prompt the US to come up with more vigorous efforts," he stressed, describing such an approach as a winning climate diplomacy tactic.