China calls for more emissions cuts from U.S.

December 10, 2009 at 10:18 AM Leave a comment

China’s top climate envoy called on President Barack Obama to increase a U.S. offer to cut greenhouse gases, and said it would discuss a 2050 emissions goal only if rich nations offered more cash and carbon cuts.

Xie Zhenhua said developed nations must commit to cuts of “at least 40 percent” by 2020 from 1990 levels. He said Beijing was aiming for a legally binding treaty from the December 7-18 talks, although hosts Denmark have said that will be impossible. A successful outcome from the summit largely depends on agreement between the United States and China, which together generate 40 percent of global carbon emissions.

But negotiations have been bogged down for months by rifts between developed and developing nations over who should cut emissions, by how much, and who should pay. “I do hope that President Obama can bring a concrete contribution to Copenhagen,” Xie said in a rare interview. Asked if he meant something more than Obama has proposed so far, a 3 percent cut from 1990 levels by 2020, Xie said: “Yes.” “The whole world is watching the United States, and as long as they take on a good leadership role, then I think that we can make a large step forward in combating climate change.”

The head of China’s delegation, who is deputy chairman of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), called for stronger action from rich nations a day after a senior member of his delegation slammed their existing commitments as unambitious and deceptive. Xie initially told Reuters rich countries should make emissions cuts of 25-40 percent versus 1990 levels by 2020, but clarified later that China was sticking to its past insistence of cuts of “at least 40 percent.”

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Entry filed under: Climate Change, Conservation, National News, US. Tags: , , , , , .

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