China tells west to change lifestyle

Rich countries must abandon their "unsustainable lifestyle" in order to fight global warming and help poor nations that suffer the worst climate-change impacts, Reuters reported Chinese premier Wen Jiabao as saying. The financial crisis was no reason for developed countries to abandon their efforts to tackle climate change, Wen said at the start of a two-day meeting in Beijing.

"As the global financial crisis spreads and worsens, and the world economy slows down apparently, the international community must not waver in its determination to tackle climate change," Xinhua news agency quoted Wen as saying.

China is calling on industrialised countries to fund a huge transfer of low-carbon technology for developing countries. Chinese officials said recently that rich countries should divert as much as 1% of GDP into clean technology transfers to the developing world. "Developed countries shoulder the duty and responsibility to tackle climate change and should alter their unsustainable lifestyle," Wen said.

But climate officials were sceptical that developed countries, hit by the economic downturn, could meet the Chinese proposals.

"If we go to citizens under the current circumstances … and say ‘I’m increasing your tax burden in order to pay for climate policy’, that might not go down very well," Yvo de Boer, who heads the UN Climate Change Secretariat, told Reuters.


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