Wednesday, August 05, 2009

China, No to Green House Gas Cuts

China refused to budge Wednesday on its demands that rich nations commit to large greenhouse gas cuts at upcoming climate change talks, while also declining to put a ceiling on its own emissions.

China and other developing nations will call on rich countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels at negotiations in Copenhagen in December, said Yu Qingtai, China's top climate negotiator.

"We have all along believed that due to the historical responsibility of the developed nations, they must continue to take the lead with large reductions beyond 2012," Yu told reporters.

We "have demanded that developed nations reduce emissions by 40 percent... this is fair and reasonable... China's position has not changed."

The December negotiations are aimed at hammering out a new climate change pact to replace the Kyoto protocol that expires in 2012.

As a developing nation with low per-capita emissions, China is not required to set emissions cuts under the UN Framework on Climate Change.

The European Union has said it will slash emissions by 20 percent by 2020 compared with the 1990 level.

The US Congress is considering legislation that would reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.

China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases along with the United States, has said neither of the cuts are enough.

In per capita terms, China produces very little CO2. With a population of 1.2 billion, it produces something over what the US does. 10%? 20%? That means they are doing less than 25% of the US' on a per person basis. This is the argument that the post Kyoto Protocol treaty is emphasizing. However, that really doesn't matter.

What really matters is the total amount being put into the atmosphere. In absolute terms that amount is climbing, very, very fast. The fastest growing source? The Biggest source? China. Big time. And they are not going to limit their output. Even if they improve their carbon efficiency down to the 60% per capita of the US' currently, we are going to see them pumping out more than twice what the US does annually.

Now think about that for a bit.

1 comment:

Zach said...

Sounds like China is being kind of a dick here. And why? I heard on NPR that these developing nations like China and India are resentful of developed nations who had all this time to pump emissions into the air and now that they can afford to and have the technology to, are reducing them. China and India are just starting their heavy emission stage, and they're being told they shouldn't, or can't, anymore.

I can see why they'd be pissed, but there are bigger things at stake here, guys.