EU wants more on climate from China, lauds Japan

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Emerging economies such as China should cut their greenhouse gas emissions to nearly one third below current forecasts, a top European Union climate negotiator said on Tuesday.

Developing nations as a whole should be more ambitious about tackling climate change, although the poorest will need financial help, Swedish environment minister Andreas Carlgren said.

Sweden, which holds the European Union’s rotating presidency, is keen to keep the pressure on big polluters in the run-up to global climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

“For some very big polluters, emerging economies, I expect much more -- for the biggest ones, up to 30 percent deviation from business as usual,” Carlgren told reporters.

He did not specifically name China, but an adviser said this was one of the countries to which he was referring.

With its fast-rising emissions, China’s stance is crucial at the Copenhagen talks to create a new pact to succeed the current Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.

The talks will take place amid renewed optimism, after the United States agreed this summer to help keep global temperatures from rising beyond 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

United Nations scientists say that beyond 2 degrees there is an increasing risk that climate change will spiral out of control, bringing floods, famine, disease and drought.

Japan’s newly elected government has also given grounds for optimism by pledging to cut carbon dioxide to a quarter below 1990 levels by 2020, said Carlgren.

The European Union, which itself plans to cut emissions by a fifth in that timeframe, had previously criticized the outgoing Japanese government for its plan to cut by just 8 percent.

“If this current newly elected government could deliver what its party has hinted at during the elections that could create a momentum in the climate change negotiations,” Carlgren said.

“If you would link to that also the Australian ambitions you would see that there is a growing bulk of developed countries that are really moving along with ambitious emission reduction plans,” he added.

Reporting by Pete Harrison, editing by Anthony Barker