China says has not given up hope for Copenhagen deal

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - China’s climate change ambassador said on Thursday he had not given up hope of a strong climate deal at Copenhagen talks, and rejected as malicious rumors a suggestion from other delegates that China had.

Children carry lanterns during an Earth Hour ceremony at the townhall square in central Copenhagen December 16, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Charisius

Yu Qingtai said Beijing wants a deal that would capture all progress achieved over two years of UN-led negotiations and leave room for swift progress on unresolved areas next year, given that time at the Dec 7-18 summit is rapidly running out.

“I do not know where this rumor came from but I can assure you that the Chinese delegation came to Copenhagen with hope and have not given it up,” Yu Qingtai told Reuters on the sidelines of the summit, now in its penultimate day.

“Copenhagen is too important to fail,” he said, adding that the presence of Premier Wen Jiabao, who arrived in Copenhagen on Wednesday evening, was testament to China’s commitment.

An official with a western nation involved in the talks had earlier said China told participants it saw no possibility of achieving a detailed accord to tackle global warming.

The official, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters the Chinese had instead suggested issuing “a short political declaration of some sort.”

Yu said the comments were an effort to protectively shift blame to China, as worries about the potential collapse of the talks, or that they will produce only an empty deal, grew.

Dozens of heads of state were arriving in the Danish capital to address the December 7-18 conference, meant to sign a new pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions on Friday. Negotiators’ failure to draft a coherent text means they have a mountain to climb.

“China is not interested in becoming a party to the efforts by some people to try to blame other countries for “a failure” at Copenhagen,” Yu said.

“I believe what they are trying to do is to find excuses for their own obstructive role and very unconstructive attitude in the whole process.”

Yu said China hopes any final agreement can pin down all the areas that have moved forward at Copenhagen, although he declined to comment on what exact form China sees it taking.

However China has said in the past that it is more concerned about the substance of any deal than its official name.

“(It must represent) the common ground that we do have and whatever progress we have managed to achieve over the past two years, so that after Copenhagen we...can start doing something on the basis of what we agreed,” Yu said of the deal.