Prior to the Tianjin conference on climate change, one of China's top negotiators said that developed countries were hoping the meeting would fail to go forward and that it was because of the efforts made byChina that the conference was going ahead smoothly.
Li Gao is international policy and negotiations director of the National Development and Reform Commission's department of climate change and senior negotiator. In a one-off forum with NGOs and the media in Beijing, he said that at last year's Copenhagen meeting, no plans had been made for this year's conference, resulting in several months of chaos earlier this year. Futhermore, he said that developed countries were unenthusiastic about the main channels of negotiation and did not wish to have multilateral discussions. In the end, this conference was held because of active promotion by the BASIC countries.
Li Gao said that in the past, such meetings have been paid for by developed countries, and even if the host was a developing country, developed nations would donate money. But this year, developed countries did not want to hold the conference and did not want to put up the money. He said: "Developed countries hoped the conference would fail and developing countries like China would not come forward, which would put an end to negotiations." In order to push negotiations forward, China decided to host the meeting in Tianjin in October.
In China's 20 years of negotiations, this is the first time the country has hosted a conference that involves treaty protocol.
Finding a big place big enough to host the conference was not easy, said Li Gao. Events cannot all be held in Beijing, so the Chinese government contacted areas such as Wuhan, Hangzhou and Dalian, but none of them worked out. Some cities did not have the right facilities, while others had the facilities but no availability. Finally, Tianjin made the sacrifice. A booking at the Meijiang International Convention and Exhibition Centre was moved to make way for the climate-change conference.
The week of October 1 to 7 is a national holiday. Once this conference began, the entire holiday would be written off, and so China proposed that the meeting start after October 7. But due to conflicts with other meetings, they were forced to adjust the plan, which meant calling off the holidays for the Chinese delegation and the Tianjin hosts. "Everything we do shows we are following the main channels of negotiations for treaty protocols and continually moving forward with political will," Li Gao said.