22 Dec 2009

China denies scuppering climate deal

6:58 pm on 22 December 2009

China has dismissed allegations by a British minister that it was responsible for the near collapse of climate negotiations in Copenhagen.

Britain's Climate Change Secretary has singled out China for vetoing an agreement on limiting emissions. Ed Miliband accused China of blocking major agreements at Copenhagen and being reluctant to have serious negotiations there.

But Beijing said his comments were part of a political scheme to "provoke discord among developing countries".

The Copenhagen summit ended without the 192 countries present reaching a firm agreement on climate change. The delegates simply committed to "taking note" of a deal recognising the need to limit temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius.

In comments reported by the Xinhua state news agency, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yusaid statements from "certain British politicians" were "plainly a political scheme".

Prime Minister wants binding accord

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the summit was held to ransom by a small group of countries, the talks were at best flawed and at worst chaotic, and the process needs urgent reform to stop the same thing happening again.

He said a few countries will not be allowed to hold others back, although he did not name those countries.

Mr Brown said he is pushing for a global, binding climate accord, but for the moment a diluted deal is better than nothing at all.

China praises summit

For its part, China says rich nations such as the United States should be blamed for allowing their greenhouse gas emissions to soar after promising to reduce them.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has acknowledged the reservations expressed by some countries, but said the summit was nevertheless a success.