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UN Official Expects Active Chinese Engagement at Climate Conference

The UN climate chief said on Monday that during the upcoming Climate Change Conference he expects "an active Chinese engagement" in discussions concerning technology transfer.

"Many people don't realize China has already had an ambitious climate change policy in place. There is an ambition in China to improve energy efficiency, to close down small and medium-sized highly polluting installations," Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the Bonn-based secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told Xinhua in an interview.

China's ambitious climate change policy is motivated not only by its concerns about the environment, but also by worries over energy prices and energy security, he said. "There are more goals driving it."

"On top of that it now comes the white paper, in which China has indicated what it can do more. What I sense is that China takes this issue very seriously, that China wants to formulate an ambitious policy and show leadership," de Boer said.

The UN official said China has been active in related negotiations and recently organized a major conference on technology transfer in Beijing.

"I am sure that the Chinese representative will bring the outcome of that conference to the discussion in Poznan," de Boer said. "So, I expect an active Chinese engagement on how do we transfer advanced technology."

De Boer also said he was sure China would bring to discussions during the December 1-8 conference in Poznan, Poland, ideas on how rich countries should mobilize resources that will allow developing countries to engage.

The conference will provide China "an excellent platform to get reactions from other countries." he said.

China, de Boer said, will "certainly" face pressure from developed countries when it raises suggestions during the conference because those nations also are suffering from the international financial crisis.

"But I think it's important that countries stop pointing fingers at each other, blaming each other as they already know they are all engaged," he said.

De Boer said the current financial crisis and subsequent economic downturn will have implications on international climate change policies.

"It's difficult and takes time to discover how the financial crisis and economic downturn will impact the international negotiation process," he said.

The UN Climate Change Conference will serve as an important half-way mark in the negotiating process leading up to the Copenhagen meeting in 2009, the UNFCCC secretariat said on Monday.

(Xinhua News Agency November 18, 2008)

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