China's chief negotiator Su Wei said on Sunday that he expected negotiators to make full use of time in Paris in order to reach a global legally binding climate agreement by December 11.
"Time is quite pressing, we will make every minute and second count," said Su Wei in an interview with Xinhua prior to the start of a United Nations climate conference in Paris.
A global climate agreement was set to be thrashed out by officials from nearly 200 countries and regions over the next two weeks at Le Bourget conference center on the northern outskirts of French capital.
Countries and regions wish the deal could set rules for global actions and cooperation in addressing climate change after 2020.
"Such an agreement should have legal force," Su said, adding that "the legal instrument should be consistent with principles, provisions, targets and framework of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)", a treaty which obliges developed countries to take the lead in reducing carbon emissions and providing finance and technology support to developing countries.
Su's remarks echoed that of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres who said on Saturday that what will be finalized in Paris over the next two weeks is "the second legally binding instrument under the Convention", the first one being Kyoto Protocol whose commitment period ends in 2020 when the Paris agreement comes into effect.
"We are not building a new international system, but discussing how we could enhance our climate actions after 2020," Su said, "the goal is to better implement the Convention, especially in areas of emission reduction, adaptation, as well as finance, technology transfer and capacity building supports."
About 150 world leaders will deliver speeches on Monday following an official opening of the UN climate conference, injecting political momentum to the negotiations.
On Sunday afternoon, however, negotiators will already start to work on the final draft text of the Paris agreement.
Su expected negotiations on the draft text to wrap up on Thursday afternoon. The finalized draft will then be reviewed by all parties on Friday, and left for ministers to make decisions in the second week.
"The past progress of negotiations on the text was not satisfying, a number of divergences remain to be bridged," he said.
Major disputes range from differentiation of responsibilities of cutting emissions among countries to how developed countries would meet their promise of providing $100 billion by 2020 to support actions of developing countries.
In 2012, only $17 billion were provided by developed countries from public funds, according to an estimate of World Resources Institute.
"Climate change is an urgent threat for the whole humanity and our planet. International cooperation is needed to jointly face the challenge," said Su.
"China will continue to address the issue with a positive and serious attitude," he added, "however, our position on insisting principles of common but differentiated responsibility will not change."
"China will make as much contribution as possible to fight climate change according to its national circumstances, capability and development phase," Su said.
(Xinhua News Agency November 29, 2015)