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Climate Concerns
Climate Concerns
UPDATED: January 4, 2010 NO. 1 JANUARY 7, 2010
Copenhagen Diary
Premier Wen Jiabao pushes China's views on climate change negotiations

A MEETING OF MINDS: The head of the Chinese delegation to the Copenhagen climate change conference Xie Zhenhua (left), deputy head Su Wei (center) and UN Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang speak on the sidelines of the high-level segment of the Copenhagen conference on December 15, 2009 (WU WEI)

Day one

At 3:00 p.m. on the afternoon of December 16, the plane carrying Premier Wen and the Chinese delegation took off from Beijing and started the journey to Copenhagen.

"It is a huge task to attend the conference on behalf of the Chinese Government. I am deeply aware of the heavy responsibility upon me," Premier Wen said to the travelling press corps on board the plane. "On my way to the airport, I thought of two ancient sayings. One is 'He who is cautious may seem timid in the beginning, but his mettle will shine through in the end,' and the other is 'Thorough planning at the outset will serve one well in his ensuing endeavors.' In other words, if you think carefully as you embark on a mission, you will be able to act with courage and resolve."

In fact, the premier's journey to Copenhagen had started well before this day. In the run-up to the conference, he visited the China Meteorological Administration and had a number of telephone conversations with foreign leaders.

On November 27-28, representatives of the BASIC countries, i.e. China, India, Brazil and South Africa, and Sudan as the chair of the Group of 77 held consultations in Beijing. Premier Wen met with the participating environment ministers or their representatives.

From December 8 onwards, as national delegations were engaged in tough negotiations in Copenhagen, Premier Wen talked by phone with the UN Secretary General and the leaders of Britain, Germany, India, Brazil, South Africa, Denmark and Ethiopia. They had frank and in-depth conversations on some major issues concerning the conference.

On December 11, Premier Wen made a visit to the China Meteorological Administration and convened a discussion with experts on climate change. During the meeting, he called for resolute and strong measures to meet the government's target for controlling greenhouse gas emissions.

Premier Wen had also closely followed developments at the Copenhagen conference after its opening. Soon after his plane took off from Beijing on December 16, he asked the press corps to come to the front cabin and shared his thoughts very frankly.

It was apparent that Premier Wen had already carefully thought about the complicated situation awaiting him. He said, "I am confident that with so many leaders converging on Copenhagen, the conference will be a fruitful one. But whatever may happen in Copenhagen, China will not change its action plan. Our voluntary mitigation target is non-negotiable and our determination to meet it will not waver," he said.

After this mid-air briefing, Premier Wen called a meeting of the accompanying ministers to analyze the position of various parties.

At 4:45 p.m. local time, Premier Wen's plane touched down at Copenhagen airport. Snow was falling heavily and a chill wind was howling: Not all was quiet on this wintry evening in Copenhagen.

Everyone in the Chinese delegation was tired after a 10-hour flight that had crossed seven time zones and more than 7,000 km, but Premier Wen still decided to go straight to the Chinese Embassy, where he would hear briefings on the latest developments and plan next steps. Over one hour had passed before he finally left the embassy and checked in at the Radisson Hotel.

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