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Hedegaard Says EU Needs More Detail From China on Climate

European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she needs more information about China’s plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the first sign of discord at United Nations climate talks.

China this week said it’s willing to make a post-2020 legally binding commitment to reducing fossil fuel emissions under certain conditions, including the extension of pollution limits for developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol.

Envoys from 190 nations at United Nations climate talks in South Africa this week are debating ways keep up the fight against global warming after Kyoto’s limits on fossil fuel emissions expire next year. Hedegaard’s comment suggests China hasn’t yet satisfied EU conditions for extending the pact, one of the most contentious items under discussion.

“I still believe that China holds one of the central keys to unlock the situation,” she said in an e-mailed statement after the meeting. “The EU is willing to take a second Kyoto period, but the central issue remains how China will follow us and when. Here, more clarifications and further dialogue is needed.”

In a post on her Twitter account this evening, Hedegaard said, “sometimes messages are more progressive at public press conferences than in negotiation rooms.”

The EU says it will sign up for more emissions limits under Kyoto only if all nations agree to a “road map” fixing the date for the next legally binding climate treaty. China, which had no requirements under Kyoto, this week discussed making a commitment in exchange for mandatory cuts from industrial countries under Kyoto beyond 2012.

The talks are scheduled to conclude on Dec. 9.

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