[enviro-vlc] China sets price for cooperation on climate change
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Wed Oct 29 00:28:27 EST 2008
China sets price for cooperation on climate change
Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:40am EDT
By Chris Buckley
BEIJING (Reuters) - China wants rich countries to commit 1 percent of their
economic worth to help poor nations fight global warming, and will press for a
new international mechanism to spread "green" technology worldwide.
Unveiling the demands on Tuesday, a senior Chinese official for climate change
policy, Gao Guangsheng, said the financial turmoil rattling the global economy
should not deter a big increase in funds and technology to poor nations.
"Developing countries should take action, but a prerequisite for this action is
that developed countries provide funds and transfer technology," Gao told a news
"Developed countries' funding to support developing countries response to
climate change should reach 1 percent of the developed countries' GDP."
Gao said current funds to help fight climate change were "virtually nothing."
China will detail its proposal at a conference next week that will assemble
representatives from the United States, Europe and many rich and poor countries,
Gao is chief of the climate change office in the National Development and Reform
Commission, a super-ministry steering economic policy. His call may signal China
wants a more active role in climate change talks in which it has usually
preferred to stay low-key.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, felling
forests and farming are trapping growing levels of solar radiation in the
atmosphere, threatening dangerous rises in average global temperatures.
China's 1.3 billion people, fast-growing economy and bulging exports have pushed
its emissions of greenhouse gases above the United States, long the world's
biggest emitter, according to many experts.
But under the current Kyoto Protocol, a U.N.-backed pact to fight climate
change, China and other Third World economies do not shoulder specific goals to
Washington has refused to ratify Kyoto, saying the lack of caps on China and
other big developing emitters make it ineffective, and many foreign officials
and experts say Beijing should accept some goals in a new pact.
These pressures put China at the heart of accelerating negotiations for a treaty
that will take over from the current Kyoto pact, which expires in 2012. Those
negotiations culminate in Copenhagen late next year.
Gao indicated his government would not play purely defensive in the talks,
resisting calls for it to accept emissions targets, and would press its own
demands for a huge increase in the flow of technology and funds to China and
other developing nations.
Current climate change agreements provide for funds for technology and
adaptation steps. But Chinese officials have long said that their country's
ability to cut carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from power plants,
factories and vehicles is hampered by a lack of promised technology from the
"The present mechanism is unsuited to the needs of addressing climate change,"
Gao said. "Developed countries have not carried out their relevant commitments."
Western officials and experts have in turn blamed worries about patent theft and
sacrificed competitiveness for delays. Some have also said China's demands on
technology transfers have been too vague to negotiate.
Gao said China's proposal would address those worries and offer stronger
protection for intellectual property.
At the two-day conference starting on Friday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will
give a keynote speech, underscoring the seriousness of the government's
technology demands, Gao said.
On Wednesday, China will also issue an official "white paper" on climate change,
detailing its policies and concerns.
(Editing by Nick Macfie)
© Thomson Reuters 2008
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