Climate change

Developed nations told to act in climate-change battle

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2007, 12:00am

Countries should honour green commitments, says Beijing

China has urged developed countries to take concrete steps to provide financial support and allow technology transfer to help developing countries combat global warming.

Ma Kai , director of the National Development and Reform Commission, the country's top planning body, said yesterday that the mainland faced common challenges and shared interests with the US and other developed nations in ensuring global energy security and in tackling climate change.

'I think both China and the US are manufacturing and consumption powers as well as top emitters [of greenhouse gases],' he said at a briefing unveiling a national plan on climate change.

He said China was willing to co-operate more closely with the United States on tackling climate change, with an agreement on a biomass project using non-crop sources to be signed soon.

'Despite our differences [between China and the US], our co-operation in the field of fighting climate change has already begun and will definitely carry on.'

He played down the blame game between the top two carbon emitters in the world and did not elaborate on the differences.

Instead, he blamed developed countries as a whole for a lack of progress in honouring their commitments to transfer advanced technologies to their developing counterparts which were necessary to control emissions.

'Some developed countries have made efforts to transfer some technologies in the Clean Development Mechanism,' he said. 'But overall there has been lot of thunder but little rain, a lot of rhetoric but little action.'

The Clean Development Mechanism is an arrangement under the Kyoto Protocol allowing industrialised countries with a greenhouse gas reduction commitment to invest in emission-reducing projects in developing countries as an alternative to more costly emission reductions in their own countries.

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developed countries should take into full account the rights of developing countries to develop and provide financial resources and technology transfer.

Mr Ma said China welcomed US President George W. Bush's recent proposals on global warming as a 'positive change', which accepted the argument by developing countries that addressing climate change should not hinder economic development.

'For example, the initiative recognised the close inter-relationship between climate change on the one hand and economic development and energy security on the other,' he said.

However, he said any new framework or regional co-operation should not displace the main UN treaty on global warming and the Kyoto Protocol, and should be carried out under the umbrella of the United Nations.

'We believe that the initiative of the White House should be a useful complement to the UN Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol and not a substitute for the two international documents.'

The Bush plan aims to this year gather representatives from 15 top polluting nations, including China, to discuss climate change and come up with long-term goals to combat global warming by the end of next year.

China's national plan, released yesterday, said: 'Regional co-operation on climate change should function as a helpful complement to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol rather than replacing or weakening them.'

Where the mainland's at now

Average temperature

During past 100 years has risen 0.5-0.8 degrees Celsius

Sea level

Has risen 2.5mm annually over past 50 years

Greenhouse gas emissions

Have risen from 4.06 billion tonnes in 1994 to 6.1b tonnes in 2004


Accounts for 76.4% of new energy production, compared with a global average of 27.8%

Clean energy

Accounts for 10.1% of new energy production, compared with a global average of 35.8%

What it's aiming for by 2010


Compared to 2005, energy consumption per unit of GDP to drop 20%

Proportion of renewable energy to rise 10%

Forest cover to rise from 18% in 2005 to 20%

Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to be achieved by

Increasing hydropower 500m tonnes

Coal-to-gas projects 200m tonnes

Coal power plant upgrades 110m tonnes

Wind, solar, ocean power schemes 60m tonnes

Nuclear power 50m tonnes

Biopower schemes 30m tonnes