China accused rich countries today of slowing progress at the UN climate talks, contending they are spending their energy trying to dismantle the Kyoto Protocol rather than negotiating the hard targets necessary to reduce emissions.

Yu Qingtai, the country’s top climate envoy, did not single out any country for criticism but complained that industrialised countries as a whole were trying to change the rules of the game just weeks before world leaders meet in Copenhagen to forge a new climate pact.

“In my view, the fundamental reason for a lack of progress is the lack of political will on the part of Annex 1 countries,” Yu said, using a term that refers to industrialised countries.

“Are we prepared to take real action to match our words? Are we serious about our commitments?” he continued. “This is the question we all need to ask ourselves two months before Copenhagen.”

Yu’s comments come at the halfway point of talks in Bangkok on a climate treaty that would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Negotiators are tasked with trying to reduce an unwieldy, 200—page document down to something more manageable before Copenhagen.

Keywords: Yu Qingtaiclimate