China reiterates stance on emissions

Echoing a document submitted earlier to the United Nations, China said that rich nations should cut their greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2020, Reuters reported. A new global climate pact must ensure that wealthy nations “take on quantified targets to drastically reduce emissions”, according to a statement by the National Development and Reform Commission, which directs Chinese climate policy.

China’s new document also said that developed countries should provide 0.5% to 1% of their annual economic worth to help other nations curtail their emissions and cope with global warming. The statement spells out China’s stance ahead of a crucial UN climate conference in Copenhagen in December. Those talks are meant to agree a post-2012 accord that will build on the Kyoto Protocol.

In a demand apparently aimed at the United States, it said that a new treaty should “ensure developed countries that have not ratified the Kyoto Protocol assume corresponding and comparable emissions reduction commitments”.

China’s latest statement also says that it and other developing countries must be allowed to balance efforts to combat climate change with the need to develop. The country’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas linked to climate change, are likely to keep growing until 2035, experts from the state-run Energy Research Institute told the official China Daily. They urged massive spending to create a low-carbon economy and contain global warming.

The experts said China’s CO2 emissions could reach 5.5 billion tonnes in 2010 and 8.8 billion tonnes in 2035. “But from 2035 to 2050,” the newspaper quoted them as saying, “emissions will remain stable or decline marginally if the proper technological route is followed.” The report did not say what assumptions lay behind the projections.

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