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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

CLEAR VOICE: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks at a high-level segment of the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen on December 18, 2009 (PANG XINGLEI)

On December 19, 2009, the Copenhagen climate change conference finally produced major and positive outcomes after complicated and tortuous negotiations. The Copenhagen Accord issued at the conference firmly upheld the basic framework and principles established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, further clarified the due obligations and actions of developed and developing countries respectively according to the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," and reflected international consensus regarding the long-term goals for addressing climate change, financing, technology, transparency of actions and other issues.

From December 16 to 18, in the nearly 60 hours Premier Wen Jiabao spent in Copenhagen, he held intensive talks and consultations with other leaders to drive the negotiation process forward.

In his important speech at the high-level segment of the conference, Premier Wen reiterated the consistent position of the Chinese Government. He called on all sides to build consensus and strengthen cooperation to advance the historical process of combating climate change. Confronted by the complicated situation in and outside the Bella Center, Premier Wen was undeterred. With the strongest political will and patience, he shuttled between participating leaders and engaged them in dialogue and consultations. At the critical moment when the negotiations faced the risk of a breakdown, he personally talked to various parties and helped the conference reach a final accord with his painstaking and thoughtful efforts.

History will remember the important contribution of the Chinese Government to the success of the Copenhagen conference.

A prelude

The argument between developing and developed countries on global warming has grown ever more heated in recent years. As the largest developing nation, China has made enormous and effective efforts to conserve energy and control emissions.

On November 26, 2009, the Chinese Government announced the target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40-45 percent from the 2005 level by 2020. The announcement was widely applauded by the international community. It was also announced on that day that Premier Wen would attend the Copenhagen conference.

After the opening of the conference on December 7, Copenhagen became a stage of intense wrangling between governments, interest groups, NGOs and research institutes. But the unending arguments, talks and negotiations never seemed to have gotten very far and an enormous gulf remained between divergent positions. The clock was ticking, and a pervasive sense of pessimism and despair began to fill the conference center.

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