Negotiators meet at pre-Cancun UN climate talks in China

About 3,000 delegates from India and host of other countries are attending the meeting in China.

Beijing: Climate negotiators gathered in China on Monday to hammer out an understanding over a draft negotiation text and try to give a push to the gridlocked
talks ahead of the all important Cancun summit later this year.

About 3,000 delegates from India and host of other countries and agencies under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol are attending the meeting in China`s northern Tianjin city.

The talks that kicked off today are part of long-running efforts through the United Nations to secure a post-2012 treaty on tackling global warming.

Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh is expected to attend it towards the end of the five-day meeting.

With the climate talks making little headway since the acrimonious summit in Copenhagen last year, UN`s top climate official asked the warring nations to rise to the challenge of finding common ground.

The talks in China are the last meeting of negotiators before the crucial UN climate summit in Mexico later this year.

"Now is the time to rise to your challenge... Now is the time to accelerate the search for common ground," UN Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary
Christiana Figueres said in an address.

The officials would discuss the negotiating text reached at the Bonn talks in August by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention.

A draft proposal, by the Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, will also be tabled for discussion.

The two working groups have held three rounds of talks this year without any major success.

This will be the last meeting before Cancun summit, and India, China and other developing countries are not too optimistic about reaching an agreement on emission cuts with developed countries.

Last year`s summit in Copenhagen, which was projected as a make-or-break meeting, ended without producing a legally binding deal to curb global climate change.

It is to be seen whether the India-China rapport displayed at Copenhagen which successfully withstood pressure mounted by developed countries to impose legally-binding cuts would continue.

Figures played down expectations of a binding deal being struck at the Cancun summit due to persisting differences.

"Let me be clear - there is no magic bullet, no one climate agreement that will solve everything right now... To expect that is naive," she said in a statement ahead of the

"However, I am certain the world can do this step by step, but only if we keep on walking firmly in the right direction, including at Cancun," Figueres said.

She said this year`s gathering would be "the place where governments need to take the next firm step on humanity`s long journey to meet the full-scale challenge of
climate change".

According to officials the agenda at the Tianjin meeting focussed on Industrialised nations` commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, including further emission reductions
after 2012, when the current period ends and preparations of a draft negotiating text for the Cancun summit.

Inaugurating the meeting, China`s State Councilor Dai Bingguo said that China will continue playing an active and constructive part in the climate talks.

Dai suggested the negotiations should stick to the basic framework of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol and the mandate of the Bali Roadmap and follow the principle of
"common but differentiated responsibilities".

The developed countries should set the targets to take the lead in reducing the greenhouse gases emissions and the arrangements should be made to provide adequate financial and technological support to developing countries, official Xinhua
news agency quoted him as saying.

He also stressed China, as a country of 1.3 billion people with per capita GDP ranking about 100th in the world, faces the serious task of improving people`s livelihood.

"At a stage of accelerated industrialisation and urbanisation, China`s energy demand will see further reasonable growth. Therefore, we face significant constraints in controlling greenhouse gases emissions," he said.

China, meanwhile, made preparations to meet its goal of reducing green house gases by 20 percent by the end of the year.

The government has ordered the closure of hundreds of small thermal plants and inefficient iron and steel plants.

"Due to the unremitting efforts of central and local governments, the target of a 20-percent reduction in energy consumption relative to economic output is within reach," Xie Zhenhua, Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission said recently.

In the four years from 2006 to 2009, small thermal power plants with a total capacity of 60 million kilowatts were shut down.

For the first seven months this year, small thermal plants with another 10 million kW were eliminated, he said.


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