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Surprise: China Accused Of Blocking Progress At Paris Climate Talks

Pilita Clark, Financial Times

Beijing’s negotiating stance was causing anxiety among UN delegates as the Paris talks intensified ahead of Friday’s deadline, partly because India was expected to be a bigger obstacle to a successful agreement.

As Beijing declared its first “red alert” for heavy smog this week, closing schools and curbing car use, Chinese negotiators at UN talks in Paris are being accused of trying to weaken the new global climate accord due to be finalised by Friday.

“It is very frustrating,” said one negotiator from a developed country after a meeting where he said Chinese officials had tried to water down efforts to create a common system for the way countries report to the UN on their carbon dioxide emissions and climate change plans.

Another envoy said Chinese delegates were also resisting a measure widely seen as crucial for a successful accord: a requirement for countries to update the pledges they have made to limit their emissions, preferably every five years from around 2020.

China is supporting a general stocktaking review of countries’ pledges every five years but wants any updating of the carbon dioxide emissions reduction targets contained in these plans to be voluntary, this envoy said.

Heat-trapping carbon dioxide is an invisible greenhouse gas that differs from the soot and smog choking Beijing, but the two pollutants typically come from the same sources, such as coal-fired power plants.

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