COPENHAGEN - A senior Chinese envoy said on Monday that developing nations' top concern at a slow-moving climate summit is securing funds from the rich to pay for carbon emissions cuts and cover the cost of adapting to a warmer world.
He Yafei, China's deputy foreign minister, also warned that a persistent gap between industrialized and poor nations was threatening to reduce the Dec 7-18 talks, meant to agree a new global climate pact, to a deal with little substance.
If you list them in order of priorities, the most pressing issues where developing countries want to see results are: firstly finance, secondly emissions reduction targets, third technology transfer, He told Reuters in an interview.
These issues are of critical importance, he said, adding that the developed world was threatening the conference with its unwillingness to step up its efforts.
There could be a danger of ending the conference with not too much progress, this is something we need to avoid, he said.
The European Union last week promised to put 7.3 billion euros ($10.7 billion) into a three year start up funding programme, but China says there can be no long-term emissions goals without long term support.
It is not a one-stop thing, we need to have something in place after three years expire, He said.
This is not developing countries begging, or asking for charity, for donation. We are asking for justice, for fairness.
He has previously said he does not expect China to be first in line for limited rich-world funds, when small island states are struggling not to be washed off the map. But Beijing has long been adamant that more funds are needed, on principle.
Technology transfer is another thorny issue because many developed countries say much of it is owned by companies, not governments, and therefore cannot be handed over. He said they must resolve this to meet their commitments.
Developed countries have undertaken obligations to provide affordable technology along with financial resources.
They cannot say now they will wash their hands of this and leave it to the market, He said. He added that protection of copyright was improving rapidly in China, so worries about design and content theft should not be used as an excuse.
He said he wanted a deal wrapped up in time for leaders, including Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, to sign on Friday.
Over 110 world leaders will descend on the Copenhagen summit at the end of the week, and although previous climate talks have mostly dragged on long past their official deadlines, several delegates say they want to hand their leaders a done deal.
It is not appropriate for us to involve leaders in the negotiations, He said.
We may have to work late into the night (on Thursday)...I think progress will be made in strides in the last few days, it usually happens in negotiations.
China still hopes to seal a legally binding deal, but if not it would look to lock in all agreements made so far, he said.
We have said repeatedly we do want Copenhagen to produce a legally binding agreement but these hopes seem to be fading. But whatever we can achieve needs to be binding one way or another.
If some of the issues will remain open, we need to have clear indication that these issues will be addressed later on.
However he said Beijing was not willing to change an emissions curbing goal laid out before the conference, to cut the amount of carbon emitted per yuan of GDP 40-45 pct by 2020.
China's emission commitment is the best we can do, it is unilateral, it is unconditional, it is not linked to any other country's efforts, and it is not negotiable, he said.