Greenpeace urges countries to give Beijing credit for good intentions

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 December, 2007, 12:00am

Greenpeace has urged China to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, while also warning the world to ease off and not gang up on Beijing.

Yang Ailun, climate and energy campaign manager for Greenpeace China, said Beijing had shown good intentions in the fight against climate change and other countries should acknowledge it.

'China has committed to improving its energy efficiency by 10 per cent and to close up to 1,000 of the least efficient coal plants in the 2006-2010 period,' the environmentalist said on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference being held in Bali.

'It has also promised that it will have 15 per cent of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. These targets are important and show goodwill,' she added, noting nonetheless that the targets were unlikely to be met and that more was needed.

'In 2006, for example, China managed to improve its energy efficiency by only 1.6 per cent rather than the 4 per cent it had promised.'

Commenting on the difficulties encountered by Beijing, she mentioned different priorities between the central government and the provinces.

'China used to have administrative order, but now the country is much more dynamic. What you see at the moment is a high level of interest at the central government level, but big difficulties to implement at the local level, where local administrations are very much interested in economic gains.'

As a way forward, Ms Yang called for more involvement of local administrations and national policies meant to move away from a coal-based economy.

'The best way to achieve this is with a massive improvement in energy efficiency and some serious uptake of renewable energy.'

According to Beijing's National Climate Change Programme released in June, China is one of the few countries whose energy mixes are dominated by coal.

Despite the failings, Ms Yang said China's efforts should be acknowledged by the more developed countries, rather than criticised as was currently happening at the conference in Bali.

'What we have seen in the last few days is a lack of informed discussions. Countries do not know what China has been doing and have shown no interest in the difficulties faced by countries such as China in dealing with the problem,' she said.

During plenary sessions of the conference, Canada and Japan have called 'for all countries to do their parts in the fight against global warming'. The comments have been widely seen as jabs aimed at China and India.

Ms Yang said: 'During international negotiations the only approach that works is a constructive one. If countries like China feel that they are unfairly blamed, it could be much more destructive.

'What is needed is more understanding and more help from the developed countries, especially in regards to technology transfer.'