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Why Tianjin?

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.

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Olympics, World Expo and Climate Change Conference

Take a look at the Shanghai World Expo that is in full swing, as well as the extremely successful Olympics and then compare it with the "difficult steps" of the Climate Change Conference in Tianjin. The diverse readers of chinadialogue can come up with a simple conclusion, and that is that leaders are not concerned. What does this mean? That this situation is not important or the persuasive power and capabilities of related departments are not enough. For the Climate Secretary that only has a few dozen guns (said to be a secret and is just a guess), is indeed beyond their grasp. Hospitality has always been one of our strengths and with the small number of people coming to China, it shouldn't be a big deal. With the current situation, it seems we can pretty much guess the outcome of the Cancun conference.

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Conspiracy and patience, endurance

I don't like the climate change conspiracy argument, but since everyone so widely welcomes this conspiracy theory and it looks as though it is becoming more and more like a western conspiracy, I will look at it from a different perspective.

Affected most by climate change are poor countries and poor people. This is very ironic for human civilisation, and in a way indicates that we are at a dead end. This year, there was an earthquake in New Zealand and a flooding disaster in Pakistan. Although no one died in the former, in the latter, casualties were countless, and they are still starving. The earthquake in New Zealand was strong but no one died. The flood in Pakistan was of course also big and having casualties is normal. The problem is, looking at the economic strength of these two countries, we can make a small conclusion that in fact, poor countries are expected to improve their ability to deal with natural disasters, yet not idly talk about international cooperation, funding and technology transfer. Because there is no way to distinguish between which disasters are a result of historically high emissions from wealthy countries, everyone is an accomplice. Developed countries developed and kindhearted people donated money and goods, but that isn't anyone's legal obligation. Dragging it on like this is not the way because if you think about it, wealthy people can hold on, but a few storms and the poor will lose.

I actually think that this is a western "conspiracy," but since this doesn't bother you, then I'll wait until it does and we can talk about it. Perhaps then it will be more effective.

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The strength of government

This reminds me that in a side-meeting today about technology transfer, a Chinese official from the Ministry of Environmental Protection suggested to a Japanese negotiator that the Japanese government could buy in technology from knowledgeable companies, and then gift it to developing nations. He said that he was certain that the Chinese government would be willing to present Japan with advanced technology using the same method.
The Japanese official's reply was that this type of system, involving direct payment of money, would need to be thought over very carefully.