The road to the Copenhagen Climate Conference is paved with irony.
This past week China, one of the world's dirtiest polluters, accused rich nations of trying to kill off the Kyoto Protocol, as leaders gathered in Bangkok to try and reach agreements on the latest draft outlining global involvement for climate change.
The talks are deadlocked over rich nations toughening their commitments to cut emissions by 2020, procuring climate funds to help poorer nations adapt to the impacts of climate change, investing in clean energy and how to manage those funds.
"It has become self-evident and actually clear that the intention of the developed countries is to kill off the Kyoto Protocol," Lumumba D'Aping, who chairs the G77 plus China negotiating group, told reporters.
China's special envoy for climate change, Yu Qingtai, accused rich nations of trying to change the rules of the game at the last minute.
"I have yet to see a developed country or a group of developed countries coming up to say to the public, the international community and to their own people that they are not here to kill the Kyoto Protocol," Yu told reporters.
Kyoto currently binds 37 industrialized nations, except the United States, to greenhouse gas emissions targets during 2008-12. However, developing nations are currently not obliged to meet hard, economy-wide targets and so far won't agree to such targets in any new agreement. Why? Because it costs money to do so.
The subplot in all global climate change stories is money. Developing nations fear a move by some rich nations to push for a post-2012 pact that allows more flexible emissions reduction steps based on "national circumstances". This could lead to wealthy states wriggling out of meeting tough, binding emissions cuts.
Without question, the concerns being raised regarding wealthy nations climate strategies
are important. But can China be the one to levy such an indictment given its own track record? No other country emits more carbon than China, who still rely on coal for the majority of their energy needs, stripping the United States of the less-than-auspicious title of "biggest polluter".
To China's credit, however, they appear to be more proactive than their developing nation counterparts. Not only are they responsible for ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, they advocate continuously for rich nations to help poorer countries with green tech implementation. They also appear to be accepting of harsher emissions reductions as outlined in Kyoto's tenets.
So perhaps China has some grounds for its frustration.
"It's just like the final five minutes into a game and one side of the game putting forward a new set of rules, a new format, a new mandate and expect the other side to agree and make that as the precondition for making progress. That is not a fair way of conducting negotiations," Yu said.
If you're interested in more information on China and climate change, check out:
Reuters Article on China's Frustrations
Harry Tournemille has been covering renewable energy and cleantech sectors for Energy Boom for almost two years. With a focus on solar, wave, and biofuel energies, Harry looks to find real-life applications for the host of information being put out on a daily basis.