China: Too Early to Commit to Post-2020 Climate Deal

Delegates mingle before the opening of the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa. China Photo by: UNFCC / CC BY

While China is urging industrial nations to sign up for a second deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the country itself is refusing to give a firm commitment to an equally legally binding proposal from the European Union.

Beijing’s lead negotiator Su Wei said the ongoing debate on the Kyoto Protocol deal places the international response to global warming at risk.

“If we cannot get a decision for the future of the second commitment period, the whole international system on climate change will be placed in peril,” Su told Bloomberg in an interview at Durban on Tuesday (Nov. 29). “If the Kyoto Protocol is devoid of any further commitment period, the Kyoto Protocol itself will be dead.”

Japan, Russia and Canada have all announced they will not commit to a second protocol. The European Union, meanwhile, has said it will only sign up for a second term of the Kyoto Protocol if all nations — China and the United States included — would also agree to equal emission cuts. But China, which expressed concern on the future of the climate talks, said it is “too early” to say whether it will accept any legally binding commitment after 2020.

“We think the EU is just shifting the goal posts to another place,” Su said. “We are willing to consider accommodating the concerns of the EU so as to assure a real legally binding second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol. Post-2020 is still far away and we cannot spread ourselves too thinly.”

Read more:

Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.