China says no carbon cap for now

February 25, 2010 12:00 am

, BEIJING, Feb 25 – China\’s top climate change negotiator has said the world\’s biggest carbon polluter has no intention of capping greenhouse gas emissions for the time being, state media reported Thursday.

Su Wei, who led China\’s negotiating team at the UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in December, said the country\’s carbon emissions had to increase because the economy was still developing, the China Daily said.

China "could not and should not" set an upper limit on greenhouse gas emissions at the current stage, Su told a meeting on climate change policy in Beijing on Wednesday.

However, he said China was committed to making its economy more energy-efficient.

Beijing has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity — the measure of greenhouse-gas emissions per unit of gross domestic product — by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 based on 2005 levels.

Su said the pledge would be a binding part of China\’s next two five-year economic development plans.

His remarks came a day after President Hu Jintao told a high-level Communist Party meeting that China must "recognise the importance, urgency and difficulty of dealing with climate change".

Britain and other countries have accused Beijing of vetoing attempts to give legal force to an agreement at the Copenhagen talks in December and blocking an agreement on reductions in global emissions.

China has said it was never planning to accept outside reviews of its efforts to slow greenhouse gas emissions at the talks in Denmark.

China has submitted its plans to fight climate change to the United Nations but described them as voluntary and has not formally endorsed the Copenhagen deal.

The United Nations Environment Programme said in a report at its annual meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali this week that commitments made since Copenhagen have been insufficient.

"No one should assume that the pledges will be enough," UNEP director Adrian Steiner said.

"Countries will have to be far more ambitious in cutting greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to curb a rise in global temperature."

Beijing has repeatedly said rich countries should take the lead in committing to substantial emission reduction targets and provide financing to developing countries battling climate change.

Yu Qingtai, China\’s climate change ambassador, on Wednesday lashed out at developed countries, saying they were reluctant to promise emission cuts and provide green funding support, according to the China Daily.

Rich governments are pressuring developing nations — "emerging big countries" in particular — to shoulder "unreasonable responsibilities", Yu said, adding the diverging views would be a long-standing problem.


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