China says crisis won't stop its climate action

BEIJING Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:33am EST

Workers look up as vanes are lift onto a windmill at Beijing's first wind farm which starts installing wind turbine generators on the outskirts of Huailai, north China's Hebei province July 23, 2007. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Workers look up as vanes are lift onto a windmill at Beijing's first wind farm which starts installing wind turbine generators on the outskirts of Huailai, north China's Hebei province July 23, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Lee

BEIJING (Reuters) - The global financial crisis will not affect China's resolve to tackle global warming, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, ahead of a visit to Beijing by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Climate change is a theme of Clinton's trip to Asia, which has also included stops in Japan, Indonesia and South Korea. China has exceeded the United States as the world's leading emitters of greenhouse gases. "We have all along paid great attention to the problem of climate change, and have, with a responsible attitude, taken a series of helpful policy measures," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news briefing.

"Although we have been affected by the global economic crisis, the Chinese government's resolve to tackle climate change has not changed, and our actions have not weakened."

Talks are scheduled for the end of the year in Danish capital Copenhagen on a new global climate treaty.

"We are willing to work together with international society to push the Copenhagen talks forward and make sure they have a positive outcome," Jiang said, without elaborating.

Global warming has sped up the agenda of China's leaders, because of rising diplomatic pressure and increasing evidence of the strain it will put on its already fragile environment.

But Beijing insists rich nations that enjoyed emissions-intensive development must give developing countries cash and technology so they do not have to sacrifice economic growth to tackle warming, and it has been unhappy with global talks so far.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)