China: Richer States Should Lead On Climate Change


Thursday, October 30th 2008, 6:26 am
By: News On 6


BEIJING - Richer, developed nations should take the lead in reducing greenhouse emissions while helping poor countries with money and technology to fight climate change, China said in a policy paper released Wednesday.

The document lays out China's long-standing position that developed countries should shoulder the burden of lowering emissions of gases such as carbon dioxide that are chiefly responsible for causing a rise in global temperatures.

"Developed countries should be responsible for their accumulative emissions and current high per-capita emissions, and take the lead in reducing emissions, in addition to providing financial support and transferring technologies to developing countries," the paper said.

China would do its part by reducing emissions, developing renewable energy, and focusing on energy conservation, it said.

"We in China are also taking aggressive measures to slow down growth of greenhouse gas emissions," said Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body.

According to some experts, the country has already surpassed the United States to become the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, produced from coal combustion among other pollutants.

But Xie said he believed that China's emission levels are on par with the U.S, and a more definitive government study is under way.

According to experts, China has become the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, produced from coal combustion among other pollutants.

Meanwhile, a European Commission climate expert said Wednesday that the global economic slowdown may curb greenhouse gas emissions but it will also hurt the overall effort to confront climate change.

Simon Marr, an emissions trading specialist of the EC's Environment Directorate General, said the benefit from reduced global warming pollution caused by the economic crisis would likely be outweighed by less capital being available to invest in low-carbon technology.

There would be "a net increase (in greenhouse gas emissions) unfortunately due to that slowdown" of the world economies, the German official told reporters in Canberra, Australia.

Marr said the economic crisis should not be an excuse for the United Nations to fail to reach a new global agreement on climate change at a summit in Copenhagen in December next year.

On Tuesday, a senior Chinese climate official said richer countries should set aside 1 percent of their gross domestic product to help poorer nations fight global warming.

The remarks by Gao Guangsheng, who heads the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body, were the first to propose specific demands on developed countries.

On Wednesday, Xie gave a more specific answer, said developed countries contribute at least 0.7 percent of their GDP" to help fund poorer countries' fight global warming.

The policy paper was released ahead of an international conference on climate change next month in Beijing to promote transfer of international green technology.

Negotiations are continuing on a successor to the U.N.-sponsored Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. A major U.N. climate change conference in December in the Polish city of Poznan will include delegates from more than 190 countries.

The U.S. rejected the Kyoto accord, arguing it would harm American business and made no comparable demands on emerging economies. China, India and other large developing countries signed the accord but refused to accept a binding agreement that they said would limit their development and their ability to ease poverty at home.