China, Cuba slam West on climate

China’s envoy to international talks in Copenhagen has criticised rich countries for failing to curb carbon emissions, as Cuba slams the US for having ‘weak’ policies on climate change.

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“You will find a huge gap if you make a comparison between their pledges and the actions they have so far taken,” Chinese envoy Yu Qingtai told a press conference, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Yu made the comments after reports another minister had been barred several times from entering the venue for the marathon UN talks in the Danish capital.

Castro calls Obama ‘weak’

Veteran Cuban leader Fidel Castro has lashed out at Barack Obama’s climate policies, accusing the US president of not fighting the “oligarchy of irresponsibility” that is opposing change.

“Obama is not ignorant. Like (Al) Gore, he knows the grave danger that threatens everyone, but he vacillates and is weak in the face of a blind and irresponsible oligarchy in that country,” Castro wrote in an editorial published on Wednesday.

The Chinese envoy said rich nations needed to do some “soul-searching” to determine whether they had the “political will” to make good on earlier promises to reduce emissions from 1990 levels, as well as new initiatives.

He also said the developed world had not fulfilled a pledge to provide financial support to developing nations to help them cope with the effects of climate change.

Developing nations are asking for at least $US300 billion ($A330 billion) in assistance, which Yu said was not “charity work” but the “legal obligation” of developed nations under current international conventions.

“On the issue of tackling climate change, we have no lack of legal documents, but a lack of sincerity for taking action” on the part of the developed world, Yu told reporters, according to Xinhua.

Big task at ‘Hopenhagen’

The 12-day climate talks in Copenhagen are tasked with forging a deal to curb greenhouse gases and help poor countries cope with the consequences of global warming already under way.

China, the world’s top carbon emitter, has proposed that by 2020, it will curb emissions per unit of gross domestic product by between 40 and 45 per cent compared to 2005 levels – in essence, a

massive energy-efficiency drive.

That means China would slow growth in its fast-rising emissions but not reduce them. Beijing has argued that as a developing nation, it should be exempt from cutting them outright.

‘Differing responsibilities’

Yu said developed nations including the US were trying to “blur the fundamental differences in the responsibilities developed and developing nations take respectively”.

He was backed by Cuba’s Castro, who accused rich countries of heaping climate costs on the poor.

“It is likely that in Copenhagen, the most they can achieve is to buy a little time to reach a deal that will really serve to find solutions,” wrote Castro. “If they achieve that, then the summit will represent a modest advance.”

The former Cuban president, who still leads the Cuban Communist Party, also criticised Obama for accepting a Nobel Peace Prize. The US president will collect the award in Oslo on Thursday.

“Now we have to listen to another theatrical speech in Oslo, a new compendium of phrases that mask the existence of an imperial hyper-power.”


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