June 8, 2009 / 6:36 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: China's climate change stance

BEIJING (Reuters) - The U.S. climate change policy envoy, Todd Stern, is in Beijing this week to promote cooperation on a new global pact governing nations’ greenhouse gas emissions that will be negotiated in Copenhagen in December.

Here are some facts about China’s climate change policies:

* China is the world’s biggest emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas from human activity, having outstripped the United States. The U.S. Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimated China emitted 1.8 billion metric tons of carbon from burning fossil fuels in 2007, compared to the United States’ 1.6 billion metric tons. (CO2 weighs about 3.67 times as much as pure carbon.) But China’s per-capita and historically accumulated emissions remain much lower than those of developed economies.

* China has ratified the Kyoto Protocol, the U.N.-backed treaty spelling out countries’ duties in fighting climate change up to the end of 2012. As a developing country, China is not required by the Protocol to set binding targets to control greenhouse gas emissions. But the United States and other countries have said China and other richer developing nations should accept more specific goals in the successor to Kyoto.

* China has not set specific domestic targets for controlling greenhouse gas emissions. But it has set energy efficiency goals that the government says shows its commitment to tackling CO2 emissions. A 2006-10 plan aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent.

* China says global warming has been caused by the accumulated greenhouse gas emissions of wealthy economies, and they should take the lead in cutting emissions by at least 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2020, giving developing countries room to develop and expand emissions in coming decades.

* China also says industrialized nations should transfer much more green technology to poorer nations, and commit up to one percent of their economic worth to helping poor nations fight global warming.

* But experts and officials have said China’s demands of rich countries are bargaining postures likely to be scaled back as negotiations deepen.

* Some Chinese experts have proposed their country set carbon intensity goals to bring down the volume of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of economic worth created. But other experts say this goal would be much more technically demanding and costly to enforce than the current energy goals.

Editing by David Fogarty

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