China — under heavy criticism from the West over its role at last month’s climate summit — is looking to co-ordinate its post-Copenhagen response with India and other developing nations when they meet on January 24, officials in Beijing said on Friday.

India, China, Brazil and South Africa — the BASIC group — will hold a meeting in New Delhi to discuss their positions on the Copenhagen Accord, including how they will submit their emissions reduction pledges before the January 31 deadline set under the deal.

The meeting is being viewed by officials here as a chance for China to respond to the heavy criticism it has received from Western countries in recent weeks.

He Jiankun, vice-president of the government’s Expert Panel on Combating Climate Change, said the meeting “would activate a new round of negotiations after Western countries blamed China for hijacking or blocking the process.”

“The upcoming conference has shown that the emerging economies, such as my country, are determined to move the negotiation agenda forward, instead of blocking or hijacking the efforts to combat global warming,” Mr. He told the State-run China Daily newspaper. “If China has achieved common understanding with the other three [emerging economies], it can easily co-ordinate with other developing countries.”

Common strategy

Mr. He said China wanted the BASIC group to devise a common strategy at the January 24 meeting on submitting pledges to cut emissions. The four countries will also draft a response to the Copenhagen Accord, as well as co-ordinate their positions before negotiations resume on May 31 at a ministerial-level meeting in Bonn.

The compromise Copenhagen Accord calls for developed nations to submit quantified emissions targets for 2020 before January 31. Developing nations will put forward their voluntary targets and steps to limit emissions, although they have not yet agreed on how they will submit their targets.

China has already announced that it will reduce the intensity of its emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 per cent of 2005 levels by 2020. India has set an emissions intensity target of 25 per cent.

While China has sought to align itself with other developing nations in the climate talks, it has particularly come under pressure from the West to do more to reduce its emissions. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 21 per cent of global emissions. India’s share is estimated at around 5 per cent.

Criticism

Western diplomats have in recent weeks accused Chinese negotiators of “blocking” a deal at the December talks by rejecting all proposals from industrialised countries to quantify greenhouse gas emissions. China responded by accusing developed nations of “shirking” their responsibilities and seeking to divide developing countries, and has since moved quickly to rally developing nations.

Xie Zhenhua, a top climate negotiator, wrote to Minister of Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on December 30, calling for developing nations to ensure “co-ordination and unity” in their positions, and to resist attempts by the West to divide them. Mr. Xie will likely head the Chinese delegation to New Delhi on January 24.

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