Friday, May 22, 2009

China gets tough on climate talks - You cut, we won't

By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing
and Fiona Harvey in London
from The Financial Times
Published: May 22 2009

China adopted a hard line yesterday ahead of climate change negotiations, calling on rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2020 from 1990 levels and help pay for reduction schemes in poorer countries.

Beijing reiterated its belief that developing countries, including China, should curb emissions on a voluntary basis, and only if the cuts "accord with their national situations and sustainable development strategies".

It also demanded that developed countries be bound to give at least 0.5-1.0 per cent of their annual economic worth to help poorer countries, including China, to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with global warming

Although it only spells out China's initial bargaining position, the strident stance will encourage other developing nations to take tougher positions.

It will not be welcomed in Washington and Brussels, where policymakers yesterday made tackling climate change a central theme in bilateral talks with Beijing.

China's proposals are one of a series of demands made by developing countries as part of this year's crucial climate change talks.

Formal negotiations begin officially on June 1 in Bonn, with three or more meetings to follow before the final summit in Copenhagen in December to forge a successor to the Kyoto protocol.

Other developing nations have asked for higher percentages of the rich world's GDP to be transferred to poorer countries and have demanded emissions cuts of up to 80 per cent by 2020 from certain rich nations.

Officials in Europe and the US privately dismissed the Chinese demands as posturing. "They're hoping that if you ask for 1 per cent, you may get a small fraction of a per cent," said one.

China had taken a more helpful stance at the negotiating table - by discussing the many measures the Chinese government had taken - and had promised to take on improving energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy.

Rich countries accept that China, India and other emerging economies will not agree to absolute cuts in emissions in the medium term. But before they agree to finance packages to help poor countries tackle global warming, they want commitments from those countries to curb their emissions so that they do not rise to the levels they would reach under "business as usual".

China's unwillingness to offer early concessions could signal a tough road ahead for policymakers who hoped progress on this issue could lead to breakthroughs on other topics, such as trade, human rights and the military build up in Asia.
Click to read the rest of the article and the comments

No comments:

Post a Comment