China joined with India in giving qualified approval for climate accord

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Copenhagen, Denmark
Photo by Keith Braithwaite

This past week, China finally joined with India in giving qualified approval to the Copenhagen Climate Accord, calling for voluntary limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

However the official messages to the U.N. climate change secretariat did little to ease the growing pessimism that a legal agreement on global warming can be concluded this year.

A one sentence note from China’s top negotiator was all that was needed in authorizing China to be added to the list of countries included in the accord brokered by U.S. President Barack Obama in the final hours of the December conference.

China and India now join more than 100 other countries who had earlier replied to a query by Denmark as to whether they wanted to be “associated with the accord.

The delayed response by the world’s two fastest growing polluters had raised concerns that without their concurrence the accord could fall apart.

The responses to the Danish question highlight the gap that remains after the disappointing conference in Copenhagen. The summit fell well short of its original ambition of a legally binding treaty controlling the world’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for global warming.

The accord, concluded in a flurry of last-minute diplomacy, set a goal of limiting the increase in the Earth’s average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 Fahrenheit) from the preindustrial levels. But it did not say how that can be achieved or how countries should share the burden of cutting carbon emissions.

It also said developing countries should be given US$30 billion over the next three years to help them cope with changes already occurring in those countries.

At present no proposals are on the table for raising or distributing those funds.

[via]