Britain accuses China over climate talks

British Environment Minister Ed Miliband has accused China, Sudan, Bolivia and other left-wing Latin American nations of having tried to hijack the United Nations climate summit to stop a deal, the Guardian reported on Monday.

The summit in Copenhagen ended with a bare-minimum agreement on Saturday when delegates ”noted” an accord struck by the United States, China and other emerging powers that fell far short of original goals.

Miliband wrote in an article in the Guardian that Britain would make clear to those countries holding out against a binding legal treaty that ”we will not allow them to block global progress”.

”We cannot again allow negotiations on real points of substance to be hijacked in this way,” said Miliband.

”We did not get an agreement on 50% reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80% reductions by developed countries.

”Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed and the vast majority of developing countries.”

The paper said that although only China was mentioned specifically in Miliband’s article, aides made clear that he included Sudan, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Cuba which had also tried to resist a deal being signed.

Miliband said there must be ”major reform” of the UN body overseeing the talks — the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — and on the way negotiations were conducted.

The Copenhagen accord, weaker than a legally binding treaty and weaker even than the ”political” deal many had foreseen, left much to the imagination.

The accord set a target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2° Celsius over pre-industrial times — seen as a threshold for dangerous changes such as more floods, droughts, mudslides, sandstorms and rising seas. But it failed to say how this would be achieved.

It held out the prospect of $100-billion in annual aid from 2020 for developing nations but did not specify precisely where this money would come from. Decisions on core issues such as emissions cuts were pushed into the future.

Another round of climate talks is scheduled for November 2010 in Mexico. Negotiators are hoping to nail down then what they failed to achieve in Copenhagen — a new treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol. – Reuters

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