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1 Yr. To Copenhagen - "China's Position Has Not Fundamentally Changed Since Bali" - Guardian

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 01:12 PM
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1 Yr. To Copenhagen - "China's Position Has Not Fundamentally Changed Since Bali" - Guardian

The rest of the world expects more than engagement from Obama, however vigorous, and British officials will expect the US to take on the kind of binding targets it rejected a decade ago. For that to happen, it seems certain that the US will demand mandatory emissions commitments from large developing countries, principally China, India and Brazil.

China's position has not fundamentally changed since Bali: it will resist internationally binding goals for emissions reductions. "I don't think it is realistic or feasible to set a specific emissions target at a national level," said a member of the Chinese negotiating team. "Politically, I don't think it is possible to set targets."

Before taking that step, the source said, China would seek assistance to build up a system to measure, report and verify emissions. This is a challenge in such a large country but negotiators argue it is pointless to set a target if there is no accurate way to gauge compliance. China has set non-binding domestic goals on energy efficiency, renewable energy use and the reduction of pollutants, including several greenhouse gases. Foreign diplomats praise the targets, but say implementation is patchy.

In Chinese academia, there is a growing debate on the issue, with one prominent government adviser, Hu Angang, urging China to score diplomatic points by fixing binding targets. But this is a minority position. The Chinese government stresses that the main responsibility lies with developed countries. Before setting binding targets, China wants its economy to catch up more with the west. Chinese premier Wen Jiabao recently called on rich countries to abandon their "unsustainable lifestyle", saying the financial crisis was no excuse for inaction on climate change. China has said developed countries should contribute at least 0.7% of their GDP to help poorer countries acquire clean technology and cope with the floods, droughts and storms created by rising temperatures. Few wealthy countries stump up this much cash for their entire aid budgets. In negotiations, China and other developing countries are likely to seek a lower but still substantial sum of several tens of billions of pounds.

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