China open to ‘uniform’ climate rules, sidestepping old allies

(EurActiv, 14 Dec 2018) China has signalled it is open to following “uniform” global climate change rules, shifting from its usual push for a clear division of responsibilities for rich and poor countries. EURACTIV’s media partner, Climate Home News, reports.

The question of how the rules underpinning the Paris climate agreement will apply to developed and developing countries remains one of the biggest sticking points after nearly two weeks of negotiations in Katowice, Poland.

The European Union – along with the US and other rich nations – has been lobbying China to back a flexible system that gives poorer countries time to comply with a set of rules that will govern how countries cut carbon.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative on climate change, suggested on Thursday that the country was on board – as long as the developed side helps out.

“Developing countries also have varied levels of capabilities,” Xie told reporters. “Some might need greater flexibilities, while others could voluntarily do more and accept uniform standards. With more support given to them and enhanced capabilities for these developing countries, they will be able to meet their requirements earlier and faster.”

The EU is willing to make it voluntary, so countries can choose when to join, as long as there is a clear deadline by which everyone must comply, a developed country negotiator following the talks said. “But we would expect China to start from the beginning.”

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EurActiv, 14 Dec 2018: China open to ‘uniform’ climate rules, sidestepping old allies