China tells rich to do more to lead fight against climate change

OSLO Thu Mar 6, 2014 11:28am EST

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OSLO (Reuters) - China, the top greenhouse gas emitter, urged rich nations on Thursday to do more to lead the fight against climate change and help avert heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.

In a submission to the United Nations before a March 10-14 meeting of governments in Germany, Beijing called on developed countries to make deeper cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and increase aid to help the poor tackle global warming.

They should "take the lead", it said in a document that highlighted its deep differences with the United States despite promises of greater cooperation between the two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases.

Beijing said developing nations were doing most to curb rising world greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming. "Their contribution to global mitigation efforts is far greater than that by developed countries," it said.

Jennifer Morgan, a climate expert at the World Resources Institute think-tank, said the Chinese submission showed that few nations were yet willing to compromise in talks meant to end with a global U.N. deal at a summit in Paris in late 2015.

"In negotiations in the past, countries haven't shown flexibility until the end," she said, referring to a 2009 summit in Copenhagen that failed to agree a global deal.

"One lesson is that you can't leave everything until the last moment," she said. Wild weather ranging from floods in Britain to record heat in Australia has helped push climate change higher up the political agenda of some world leaders.

Senior government negotiators will meet next week in Bonn to try to sketch out elements of a U.N. deal to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 pact that obliges only the developed nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States and other developed nations say that emerging economies must also adopt clear carbon targets.

RICH AND POOR

China said, however, the new deal should retain the distinction between rich and poor. Developing nations say they need to burn more fossil fuels to help end poverty and catch up with nations that have burned huge amounts since the Industrial Revolution.

Beijing also reiterated its past insistence that rich nations cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. That is far deeper than the European Union's goal of at least 20 percent and a U.S. target of 4 percent.

Beijing said the rich should provide $40 billion this year in aid to help developing nations tackle global warming and increase it by $10 billion a year to $100 billion by 2020.

Separately, the European Union said all countries should set out far clearer promises to rein in emissions beyond 2020, when a new deal is meant to enter into force.

China's current goal, for instance, is to reduce the amount of carbon emitted per unit of economic output by 2020, a measure that allows emissions to rise with fast economic growth. The European Union said such targets could not be understood unless they included projected rates of GDP.

(Reporting by Alister Doyle; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Comments (11)
Oro_Invictus wrote:
Actually, the onus should be on high population nation-states to reduce their populations humanely, something other nation-states can help support by providing additional funding to care for older generations. Pollution is a matter of absolutes, not relativities; too much environmental degradation is too much environmental degradation, regardless of what per capita differences have been made.

One would think that nation-states like the PRC, which already have too little to sustain their population without deleterious effects, would be more willing; the effects of pollution will be far worse for them than for others.

Mar 06, 2014 1:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Oro_Invictus wrote:
Note that this is not to imply per capita reduction isn’t important, however, even if one decreases per capita emissions this doesn’t really offer a solution if the total emissions increase as we are already over what is sustainable.

Mar 06, 2014 1:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
carlmartel wrote:
The first line of the article is not completely accurate. China passed the US in national pollution production, but each American makes four times as much pollution as each Chinese, and China only beats the US because China has four and one half times as many people. In addition, from 1850 to 2010, the US was the world’s biggest polluter, and it bears a major responsibility for most of the pollution on earth.

The US encouraged every person on earth to live like Americans. I can remember Dinah Shore in the 1950′s singing “See the USA in your Chevrolet” on television. Vice President Richard Nixon went to Russia in 1959 for a US government display in Moscow of America’s labor saving gadgets that would create pollution in manufacturing and more pollution in producing electrical energy with coal, that was the main electrical energy fuel for a century and a half in the US. The US president went to China in 1972 and this was followed by visits through 1979 when Deng Xiao Peng decided that “to get rich is glorious.” The US shifted manufacturing to China and did not begin to examine the results of this policy until the mid to late 2000′s showed China catching the US economically. Someone probably remembered that the US economy pays for the war machine, and it develops and pays for the military’s technological tools. By then it was too late, and the US had lost too much wealth through badly fought wars that it could not remain ahead of China. That’s why the US bashes China today because US leaders always knew that China would pass the US. They thought that it would happen in 2050 when they were all dead, but three economic and financial crises in 2000, 2002, and 2008, two expensive and badly fought wars, and numerous costly interventions caused the US to fall faster and China to rise faster because China built itself while the US destroyed itself. China should pass the US economically and militarily by 2025 and many US leaders will remain alive to receive blame.

The US used every tool in its massive propaganda machine in movies, radio, television, and books for sixty-five years to tell everyone on earth about the superiority of the US standard of living without telling anyone, including US citizens about problems like New York’s Love Canal. As late as 2011, the governor of Texas chose to build 11 coal power plants instead of accepting a $4 billion project for wind power. The US wants to tell everyone else that they must clean up pollution, but the US does not want to accept the responsibilities, and most importantly the financial liabilities, for its own filthy past.

Mar 06, 2014 6:45pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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