China should commit to pollution curbs, says economist

The government should accept binding targets on greenhouse-gas emissions, Hu Angang, a leading Chinese academic, has written. The suggestion represents a break with the Chinese negotiating position on climate change.

Hu, a Tsinghua University economist and chinadialogue contributor, told Reuters: "China is a developing country, but it’s a very special one, with the biggest population, high energy use and sooner or later,  if not now, the biggest total greenhouse-gas emissions. So this is a common battlefront we must join."

According to Hu’s proposal, which was published in the Chinese-language Journal of Contemporary Asia-Pacific Studies, China’s
greenhouse-gas pollution could continue to rise until around 2020, before the country would "dramatically" curb emissions, cutting them
to half the 1990 level by 2030, and then half that by 2050.

China should make such a commitment even if the United States refuses to join a global pact on climate change, Hu said. The article is
likely to spark debate about China’s position during the negotiations toward the new agreement on climate change after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

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