China: climate laggards must join in pre-2020 efforts

Lead negotiator Su Wei says developed countries must ramp up action on emissions this decade

(Pic: Bigstock)

(Pic: Bigstock)

By Megan Darby in Lima

In recent months, hype has been building around prospects for a global climate change deal in Paris next year.

If agreed, that will kick in from 2020. Meanwhile this decade, there is no international framework obliging countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Bridging that gap will be one of the key themes of climate talks that started in Lima on Monday.

At a briefing, China’s lead negotiator Su Wei said bringing in pre-2020 actions was “the most important thing today”.

Su intimated countries like the US, Australia, Canada and Japan that have previously ducked such obligations needed to get on board.

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The 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which set the first climate targets for developed countries, expired in 2012.

Infamously, the US refused to join in. Canada signed up but later withdrew.

At the 2012 UN conference in Doha, parties agreed to extend their goals out to 2020, cutting emissions at least 18% on 1990 levels. But to date, only 19 have so far ratified the amendment.

Figures released by the UN ahead of the conference showed emissions from “Annex 1” (developed) countries are set to rise slightly this decade based on existing policies.

China has ratified the Doha amendment, but as a developing country, it is not obliged to make emissions cuts pre-2020.

“We all know there are parties not participating in the 2nd commitment period [2013-2020] and those who did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol,” said Su.

“Those parties will have to take comparable mitigation to other countries.”

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At a separate briefing, Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth, said ramping up pre-2020 action would be the test of Lima’s success.

“The latest science cannot be denied and the urgency cannot be ignored which means an outcome focused on post-2020 will not be acceptable here.

“We need to see a drastic scaling up of pollution targets now, as well as a real commitment to a global fund for community controlled renewable energy.”

Meena Raman of the Third World Network agreed: “We should not be looking at a post-2020 agreement without looking at what is in the pre-2020 frame.

“There are existing commitments and obligations which must be met.”

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