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Oil Report

UPDATE 2-China says no emissions checks without foreign funds

* China will only allow checks on foreign-funded projects

* No room for increase of emissions intensity target

* Rich nations must not shirk obligations, China says

BEIJING, Nov 27 (Reuters) - A top Chinese climate envoy said on Friday Beijing would only allow outside scrutiny of emissions reduction projects which had international financial support, probably only a “very small proportion” of its total cuts.

Yu Qingtai, China’s climate change ambassador, also said the world should not expect China to push up a new target to curb growth in emissions of greenhouse gases -- described by some as modest -- because it represented the “very best of our efforts”.

China announced on Thursday it would cut 2005 carbon intensity levels -- the amount of carbon dioxide produced per unit of GDP growth -- by 40-45 percent by 2020. [ID:nPEK421]

The move boosted hopes for an agreement on a new pact to fight climate change at U.N.-led talks in Copenhagen next month, but raised the thorny question of whether cuts would be monitored in a country where compulsive secrecy and corrupt or deceptive officials have long cast doubt over official data.

China has emphasised that the commitment is a domestic, voluntary policy. Yu said that meant the international community would have no right to check up on China’s progress.

“You cannot apply the same kind of standards for actions that we take on our own, with our own resources, (as you do) for actions that we take with international support,” he told a briefing in the Chinese capital.

In a previous round of talks in Bali, Indonesia, two years ago, developing nations promised to make “measurable, reportable and verifiable” cuts in their emissions.

The phrase implies third-party checks on reported reductions, but was accompanied by a developed nation commitment to “measurable, reportable and verifiable” assistance to poorer countries in their efforts to fight climate change.

Yu said the two commitments were directly linked.

“Actions would be measurable, reportable and verifiable if (international) support is measurable, reportable and verifiable,” he said when asked how China’s commitments might fit into an international deal.

“If you look at the magnitude of the measures that were announced yesterday, I would assume only a very small proportion would come under this particular provision.”

CHINA’S TARGET FIXED

Some analysts have warned that despite its political importance, China’s goal is technically modest, but Yu made clear Beijing would not put any further cuts on the table in talks.

“These are not targets that we can say, ‘if we try a bit harder we can achieve a higher target’,” he said.

“What we announced yesterday represents what we believe is the very best of our efforts. It is very, very challenging.”

The world is aiming for a political deal after negotiators ran out of time to fix a legally binding pact. Talks became mired in rancorous arguments over who should cut emissions, by how much and who should pay. The disputes remain a problem.

Under current international agreements, more of the burden for reducing greenhouse gases falls on rich, industrialised nations, which face obligatory cuts and are also bound to provide financial and technological support for poorer counterparts.

Yu said this cannot change while developing nations need to focus on economic growth to lift millions out of poverty. Poorer countries have already agreed to step up efforts, he added.

“We are prepared to abide by what we agreed to in the Bali action plan, but if there are additional demands made on China ... I think our response would be very, very clear,” he said.

“We are 10 days away from Copenhagen, and you can’t change the rules of the game five minutes before the final whistle.” (For an analysis of China’s emission goals, click on [ID:nPEK352466])

Additional reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Paul Tait ben.blanchard@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 6627 1201; Reuters Messaging: ben.blanchard.reuters.com@reuters.net If you have a query or comment on this story, send an email to news.feedback.asia@thomsonreuters.com

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