China: Rich nations must take climate lead

Other News Materials 7 November 2008 10:54 (UTC +04:00)

China will try to persuade rich countries at a U.N.-sponsored climate change conference that opened Friday to transfer more technology to developing countries to help them battle global warming, reported CNN.

In a speech to open the climate change conference in Beijing, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao repeated China's long-standing belief that rich countries should take the lead in addressing climate change.

"It took developed countries several decades to solve the problems of saving energy and cutting emissions, while China has to solve the same problem in a relatively much shorter period. So the difficulty is unprecedented," Wen said.

In a climate change policy paper last month, China said developed countries should contribute at least 0.7 percent of their GDP to help fund poorer countries' fight global warming.

At the start of the meeting attended by representatives from more than 100 countries, Zhang Ping, director of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's powerful economic planning body, urged developed countries to set up a fund to support the transfer of environmentally friendly technology to emerging economies, official Xinhua News Agency said. No other details were available.

Gao Guangsheng, who heads the commission's climate change office, said last month that China would bring its demands for technology transfer by rich countries to the Beijing meeting.

According to some experts, China has surpassed the United States to become the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas whose emissions contribute to global warming. Most of China's greenhouse gases come from coal combustion, but the country is reluctant to commit to a cut in emissions because its booming economy is dependent on coal for its energy needs.

The two-day Beijing meeting comes ahead of a a U.N. Climate Change Conference scheduled for early December in Poland that will lay the groundwork for negotiations of a climate change accord to succeed the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.

The United States rejected the Kyoto accord, arguing it would harm American business and made no comparable demands on emerging economies. China, India and other large developing countries signed the accord but refused to accept a binding agreement that they said would limit their development and their ability to ease poverty at home.

President-elect Barack Obama has said he wants to make the U.S. a leader on climate change and re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty of the Kyoto protocol. He said he plans to introduce emissions caps to the U.S., and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.