Did China sink Copenhagen talks? Bloggers weigh in.

Britain’s accusation that China “hijacked” the Copenhagen talks on global warming has kicked up vigorous debate online, with some rejecting the criticism and others urging global leaders to stop pointing fingers.

Loic Hofstedt/Reuters
A chimney billows smoke between two apartment blocks in central Beijing, Tuesday.

China stood up at Copenhagen. Afterwards some of its 340 million netizens weighed in, too, on the hard-fought but nonbinding accord reached Saturday that fell short of hopes for a global agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

By Tuesday, as Beijing rejected British accusations of “hijacking” the talks, China's blogosphere was ablaze.

"When Western countries were undergoing industrialization, no one ever mentioned the climate issue," one reader of news portal Sina.com in southeastern Fujian Province lobbed in response to the opinion piece by British Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband in the Guardian that had triggered the debate. “Now we are asked to pay attention to it. Ignore it and develop first. Let’s talk about the climate issue after we Chinese get our own matters done.”

Others disagreed. "We can’t wait," wrote one. "We lag in technology and are short of funds. We will lose more when natural disasters come."

Chinese Internet users generally showed skepticism at the last-minute statement carved largely by US President Barack Obama and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, the leaders of the world's two biggest polluter nations.

The meeting that was meant to produce a successor to the Kyoto Protocol ended as it did – without a binding law – because of selfishness, wrote blogger Hou Ning.

"Except for very few people who have a vision that transcends time and space, a feeling of responsibility in maintaining justice and an awareness of saving the Earth, most people can only see and think of their small plot of land," wrote Hou, using a Chinese idiom about tending only to one's own short-term interests (“yi mu san fen di”).

Blogger Tian Heshui, whose pen name means "heaven river water," said Copenhagen was "like a farce about the sons of the Earth quarrelling about who is going to pay for the medical bills for their 'father,' who is dying of their abuse. In the end, they leave the mission to their descendants.

A blogger called Professional Smoker held out hope that the next round of talks, in Mexico City in 2010, would reach a broader consensus: "Quarrels, finger-pointing and responsibility evasion are not the right choices. Only forgiveness, understanding, equality and cooperation are the ways to solve the problem."

Wang Ping contributed reporting.


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