China and India hit back at Copenhagen accusations

The row over who is to blame for the failure of the Copenhagen Summit to deliver a more ambitious deal continued to rumble on today, with Chinese and Indian officials rejecting accusations that emerging economies undermined the talks.

Negotiators from industrialised nations have explicitly blamed the emerging economies, and in particular China, for blocking efforts to include global emissions targets in the Copenhagen Accord.

Writing in The Guardian yesterday, British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband left no doubt over which country he blamed.

"We did not get an agreement on 50 per cent reductions in global emissions by 2050 or on 80 per cent reductions by developed countries," he wrote. "Both were vetoed by China, despite the support of a coalition of developed, and the vast majority of developing, countries."

However, Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for Beijing's foreign ministry, rejected the criticism, telling the state-run Xinhua news agency that the accusations were unfounded, and that Western politicians were attempting to draw attention away from their own failings during the Copenhagen Summit.

While she did not name Miliband, she said that "certain British politicians" were trying to implement a "political scheme" designed to "shirk responsibilities that should be assumed towards developing countries, and to provoke discord among developing countries".

Jiang added that those behind Miliband's editorial should "correct their mistakes, fulfil their obligations to developing countries in an earnest way, and stay away from activities that hinder the international community's co-operation in coping with climate change".

Meanwhile, India's Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, told the country's parliament that India had "come out quite well in Copenhagen", expressing satisfaction that the emerging nations had managed to "get our way" on the issue of emissions targets.

The adoption of targets to cut global emissions 50 per cent by 2050, and emissions from industrialised nations by 80 per cent by the same date, were widely regarded as a likely outcome of the summit, particularly given that they put the bulk of the responsibility for meeting the targets on the industrialised nations.

However, China and other emerging economies blocked any inclusion of detailed targets, fearing that, as they themselves become industrialised nations, more of the responsibility for meeting the targets will be transferred to them.

Ramesh praised the way the emerging economies of Brazil, South Africa, India and China had stuck together to oppose any inclusion of targets, predicting that the so-called BASIC group would become an increasingly powerful force at future climate change negotiations.

However, there was one bright spot to come out of the Copenhagen fallout this week, as reports emerged that Japan is to stick with its target to cut emissions by 25 per cent by 2020.

The government had said that the target, which is among the most ambitious tabled by any industrialised nation, was conditional on a robust deal being agreed in Copenhagen. But, according to reports this morning, it has concluded that the outcome was sufficiently satisfactory for the government to stick with the target.

Attention will now turn to other industrialised nations, which now have until the end of next month to formally submit 2020 emissions targets to the UN as part of the Copenhagen Accord agreed at the Summit.

Much of the focus will be on the EU, which is currently aiming to cut emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, but had said that it would raise the target to 30 per cent if other rich countries put forward more ambitious targets.

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