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UPDATED: December 13, 2010 NO. 50 DECEMBER 16, 2010
Expectations for Cancun Conference

Compared with the great hopes raised by the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009, the 2010 UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun aroused fewer expectations. However, the international community is still waiting for a positive outcome that will benefit humankind as a whole.

The Cancun conference is another important opportunity for all the participants to advance the Bali Road Map negotiations after last year's meeting in Copenhagen, which failed to reach a legally binding treaty for the years beyond 2012.

As the meeting dragged into its second phase, developed and developing countries clashed over many issues—particularly on the fate of the Kyoto Protocol's second commitment period, the amount of emission reduction, and wealthy countries' financial pledge and technology support to accomplishing such reduction.

Some developed countries have expressed the wish to not make a concrete commitment to extending the Kyoto Protocol. Japan has even categorically stated its opposition to such an extension. Such a position represents a major setback to the already difficult and delicate talks.

Safeguarding the force and effect of the protocol is crucial to maintaining the international community's commitment to addressing climate change. There will be a crisis of confidence if negotiators discard the Kyoto Protocol, currently the main treaty on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Many developing countries, though not legally bound to reduce emissions, have implemented large-scale emission reduction programs. China, under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," has led such efforts.

The country has pledged to cut its emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. This unconditional commitment to reducing carbon emissions proves China is a responsible country in combating climate change. The Chinese Government—as well as enterprises, NGOs and individuals in the country—has adopted a proactive position on environmental protection and creating a low-carbon society and is taking concrete actions in this regard.

To achieve better results, China and other developing countries need technology transfer and fast-start financial assistance in order to fulfill their emission reduction targets and mitigate the effects of climate change. Developed nations' contributions to the first installment of the green fund will be critical to the result of negotiations, both in Cancun and at future climate talks.

After more than a decade, negotiations on climate change are now touching on concrete details, making the talks increasingly difficult. Nevertheless, the international community reached an accord on shared political will in Copenhagen. We hope the Cancun conference can, with sober minds and joint efforts, complete the negotiations envisioned in the Bali Road Map and achieve legally binding results, laying down a foundation for the Durban Conference in South Africa next year.

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