Under the draft agreement, rapidly industrialising countries such as China, India and Brazil would still be considered developing nations but would have to commit to abatement measures and would not receive the same compensation as poor nations.
“China believes priority should be given to making clear and specific arrangements for reduction, adaptation, technology transfer and financial support,” Mr Zhang told The Weekend Australian in an exclusive interview yesterday as Chinese delegates in Denmark cited the outrage of developing nations against the secret arrangement.
“To be frank, now the negotiations at the meeting are moving slowly and we believe the main reason for that is the developed nations and that they have retreated on their position regarding key issues such as mitigation, funding and technological transfer,” Mr Zhang said.
The Chinese position is providing no room to raise its carbon emissions target and to accept any binding agreement. It is demanding new technology regardless of patents, and rejects the view that it should be labelled a developed nation. The draft proposal, which involved the Danish leader and Mr Rudd as a “friend of the chair of the conference”, “was not the overwhelming view of developed countries and was also a personal view not representing the view of his country”, Mr Zhang said. “The so-called draft has been widely criticised by the developing camp through the group of 77, which truly demonstrates this draft was made by a very small number of countries in isolation, and there are a lot of problems to be addressed,” he said.
Mr Zhang, speaking at the embassy in Canberra, said the European Union nations had promised to cut emissions by 30 per cent but were now saying this relied on what the developing nations committed to. He said a number of European nations had failed to meet their obligations under Kyoto, some by up to 30 per cent.
“In the meantime they have tried hard to impose unreasonable requirements on developing countries. But developed countries should take the lead in undertaking reduction targets and honouring their commitments to provide funding and technology support to developing countries.
“While they fail to deliver on all of these they are trying to put more pressure on the developing nations and shift the focus of the priority of the Copenhagen conference,” he said.
Mr Zhang said China was taking its own action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and was taking Copenhagen seriously, with more than 200 Chinese delegates at the summit.
He said China had committed to reduce carbon emissions “to cut per unit GDP energy consumption by 40 to 45 per cent and these targets represent the maximum targets China can achieve”, despite calls from developed nations for the target to be lifted.
The Chinese government also rejected any proposals to change China’s designation as a developing nation when it came to financial aid for climate change, either now or even by 2050.
Mr Zhang said while many people saw the cities of Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen, they were not representative of the rest of China, which, according to the UN, still had 150 million people living below the poverty line who had to face harsh winters.
“I can tell you that the per capita GDP in China now is barely over $US2000 ($2183),” he said.
“For China to achieve development there should be a reasonable level of rising energy consumption and a reasonable level of emissions for China and we believe climate change should be tackled in a way that does not hamper development.”
But the ambassador said the proposed $US10bn a year for developing countries to fight climate change should not be seen as “financial aid” but as “emissions redress or redemption” for the “luxury emissions” the West had enjoyed.
“We have a right to development,” he said.