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Couple puts their minds together over climate issues

[ 2009-12-11 11:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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COPENHAGEN: It was a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon in the Berthal Thorvaldsen room at the Bella Center, Copenhagen, where the two-week United Nations conference on how to supplant the Kyoto Protocol is underway.

Sitting at the negotiation table were Lu Xuedu and Li Yu'e. Lu, deputy director for the National Climate Center, and Li, from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, have been colleagues for years.

Both are deeply engaged in the climate change negotiations this year as part of the Chinese delegation. Few, however, know that they are also husband and wife.

Lu has been tasked with negotiating over clean-energy development since 1996, while his wife is China's climate change expert on land use and agriculture who became an official delegate in 2000.

"We really match each other during negotiations," said Lu. "I advise her with negotiating skills because I have more experiences in that area. She, on the other hand, gives me technical references since she has more field experience."

Gao Feng, director of Legal Affairs with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, was impressed with their work ethic.

"If I had one word to describe them, it would be workaholic," Gao said.

Gao has been China's chief negotiator from 2000 to 2005. In 2000, he recruited Li into the delegation because of her expertise in land use and agriculture.

"We have to be workaholics," Lu said. "The negotiation schedule is so tight that we only have time for breakfast together every day in Copenhagen. If we're not in the same session, we seldom meet."

The couple spends about three months a year apart from each other to sit in on climate-related negotiations abroad. Lu said they both feel they must make amends to their 17-year-old daughter for being on the road so much.

"When we are not at home, she has to be cared for by her grandparents, our relatives or my colleagues," he said.

Lu has never been absent for any climate change negotiations on China's behalf in the past decade. He said he's taken a family vacation only once during his daughter's schooling and it lasted all of one day.

He said he's reassured that his daughter is still young and that she's shown a strong interest in climate change, often asking questions about the issues to the top experts at home.

Perhaps in the next few years, the Chinese delegation will add another family member to the team.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Couple puts their minds together over climate issues

About the broadcaster:

Couple puts their minds together over climate issues

Dan Chinoy is a reporter and editor for the China Daily's website. A graduate of Columbia University, he grew up in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Dan has experience in Hillary Clinton's Senate Office in Washington, and Fortune Magazine in Beijing, the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang. Dan speaks Chinese, but not as well as he should.