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EU Welcomes Endorsement Of Copenhagen Accord By India, China

Connie Hedegaard, European Union's Commissioner for Climate Action, on Wednesday welcomed the decision by India and China to endorse the Copenhagen climate accord that calls for setting voluntary limits on emissions of green house gases, saying that the two countries could now play a major role in achieving "concrete results" at the next UN-hosted climate conference.

"This underlines the support of these two key countries to find a global solution to climate change under the UNFCCC. We must now work to anchor the Copenhagen Accord in the UN negotiating process and I expect India and China to help us benefit from the progress made in Copenhagen," Hedegaard said in a statement.

"With the support of India and China , I believe we can achieve concrete results in Cancun. I look forward to working closely with these two countries," she added.

China and India had formally endorsed the Copenhagen climate earlier in the week. With India's and China's endorsement of the non-binding deal, more than 100 countries have now agreed to the Copenhagen accord, reached after days of debate at the 194-nation summit held in the Danish capital in December.

Both India and China formally endorsed the accord through separate letters sent to the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat in Bonn on Tuesday. In their letters, the two countries asked the UN body to include them in the list of countries that have agreed to the Copenhagen Accord.

Chinese negotiator Su Wei indicated in a one-sentence note send to the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat on Tuesday that the UN body could "proceed to include China in the list" of countries supporting the deal.

In the letter to the UN body on climate change, Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh expressed concerns about the U.S.-proposed move to replace some of the existing UN texts reached on the issue though years of negotiations with parts of the Copenhagen accord. He noted that the accord that emerged from the December summit is "not a new track of negotiations or a template for outcomes."

Earlier the US had indicated that it wanted to scrap the ongoing UN process on climate change and replace it with a new global treaty that would limit negotiations on the subject to smaller groups like the G20 or Major Economies Forum. However, in a recent letter sent to UN's top climate official Yvo de Boer, the US suggested replacing some of the existing UN texts on the issue with parts of the Copenhagen accord.

The move angered developing nations, who were not bound by previous UN agreements on carbon emission cuts. They preferred the 1992 U.N. Climate Convention agreed in Kyoto, over the Copenhagen accord, as the Kyoto protocol puts the emphasis on rich nations cutting emissions.

The previous UN agreements on the issue, including the existing Kyoto protocol, requires approval of all 192 members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) before they could be enforced. The United States, which is yet to ratify the Kyoto protocol, favors the Copenhagen accord over previous UN protocols on the issue.

Another issue of debate between the developing countries led by India and China and developed nations at the Copenhagen Summit was regarding emission cuts and financial aid to poorer countries for tackling the effects of climate change. The developing countries wanted the rich nations to enforce significantly larger cuts than poorer nations, and demanded higher financial support and more technological assistance to poorer nations.

The rich nations, however, refused to accept such demands and called for stricter verification measures of the efforts taken by developing countries to cut down emissions and the utilization of aid provided for tackling the effects of climate change.

The Copenhagen Accord sets a non-binding goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times and outlines a goal of providing US$10 billion a year in quick start funds for developing nations from 2010-12, lifting it until the $100 billion goal is achieved by 2020.

The next UN Climate Change Conference (COP16) is scheduled to be held in Cancun, Mexico from November 29 to December 10, 2010. The Cancun conference is expected to advance the climate change negotiations initiated during the Copenhagen summit.

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