Chinese climate official Su Wei said at the conference that it was “unfair” to set a limit on nations that were still developing while emissions from fully developed countries were still rising. He said anticipated offer of financial support from rich countries to poorer nations in the draft of $10 billion a year was drop in the ocean.
Mr Su said the United States, the European Union and Japan simply had not brought enough to the table.
“If thought about in terms of the world’s population, what is being talked about is less than $2 per person,” he said.
Mr Su expressed disappointment in the plans laid out by the United States. “Currently, the target is to reduce emissions by 17 percent from the 2005 level. I think, for all of us, this figure cannot be regarded as remarkable or notable,” he said.
“I do hope that President Obama can bring a concrete contribution to Copenhagen,” China’s top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said.
Another Chinese official, Yu Qingtai, China’s special representative in the UN climate talks, said: “You will find a huge gap if you make a comparison between their pledges and the actions they have so far taken,”
Developing nations are asking for at least $US300 billion in financial support to help them deal with the impacts of climate change. Developed nations’ financial commitments have fallen far short of that goal, and no money has actually been provided, the People’s Daily newspaper said.
Financial support for developing nations is not “charity work” of the rich nations, but their “legal obligations” under international conventions, Mr Yu said.
Mr Su said that the EU’s announced 20 per cent target was also too little, too late.
Japan, which is the world’s fifth-largest emitter, has said its commitment depends on ambitious targets being set by other major polluters. “The Japanese have actually made no commitment because they have set an impossible precondition,” Mr Su said.
But Mr Su’s most vehement criticism was reserved for rich countries that seemed to want to violate international agreements. He said they wanted to go back on undertakings that allowed poorer countries to put economic growth ahead of reducing emissions.
Mr Xie also said that China could accept a target of halving global emissions by 2050 if developed nations stepped up their emissions cutting targets by 2020 and agreed to financial help for the developing world to fight climate change, the China Daily reported.
“We do not deny the importance of a long-term target but I think a mid-term target is more important. We need to solve the immediate problem,” Mr Xie said.
He added that “if the demands of developing countries can be satisfied I think we can discuss an emissions target” aimed at halving global emissions by 2050.