Global warming is a problem for rich countries to solve, China says

Fri, 2007-11-23 12:39Bill Miller
Bill Miller's picture

Global warming is a problem for rich countries to solve, China says

The world’s most populous nation and one of its biggest polluters has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of next month’s UN climate-change conference by saying richer countries like the U.S. have caused global warming and now it’s up to them to tackle it.

China is already neck-and-neck with the U.S. in carbon emissions, mainly due to heavy reliance on coal and its massive 1.3 billion population. But as far as China is concerned, success at Bali depends on nations like the U.S. and Canada.

China, anxious to sustain a runaway economy driven by car sales and energy consumption, has moved to deflect pressure to commit to mandatory emissions caps by stating that global warming is a problem for wealthy countries to resolve.

In fact, one of China’s Foreign Ministry officials said it’s important to have developed countries “continue to fulfill their obligations to reduce their gas emissions after 2012.”

The Bali meeting is to lay the groundwork for a successor the current climate-change treaty, the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. Kyoto set emissions targets for developed countries while exempting developing ones.

The United States rejected Kyoto, saying it puts richer countries at a competitive disadvantage, and has called for a new agreement to include China and all other polluters.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the only leader at the 53-nation Commonwealth meeting that has not fallen in line with a climate change resolution calling for binding targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While China is set to overtake the United States as the biggest greenhouse gas emitter, its per capita emissions are still a fraction of those in the U.S. India, set to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation, is also experiencing rapid growth in greenhouse emissions.

No matter how legitimate the economic aspirations of China and India, emissions from their countries are as damaging as from the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia or anywhere else. It would appear Chinese leaders need to brush up on recent scientific studies as much as Harper and President Bush.

This doesn't bode well for Bali.

Previous Comments

Looks like Bali might end up as a Game of Chicken…
China, India and other developing nations vs the Three Stooges of the West.
The irony is, of the world powers, China has the most to lose and is already feeling the effects of Climate Change.

It looks as though John Howard will be out of the equation very soon. “Bish” and Harpo will find themselves increasingly marginalized. It’s so humiliating as a Canadian to hear about our illustrious PM digging in his heels at the Commonwealth conference!

This brings great and lasting shame on us Canadians. We used to be a respected nation and we will go into history as idiots at this most important time in world relations. Howard is gone. Soon Bush will be too. Will Canada be the last to pretend humans are above the laws of nature? Here in Saskatchewan i still find people who think Global Warming is a hoax. Somehow the world’s scientists are not to be trusted but Exxon is? How convenient for people who are terrified of the prospect of having to drive a smaller car. An awful lot of education needs to be done on this issue - the average Canadian seems to have no idea of what we are putting at risk and how needless it all is. But i find people are at least receptive to hearing about GW now. If everyone reading this takes time to educate themselves (read Monbiot’s Heat etc) and make a point to comment to people on the street, in shops, in queues, etc. Tell distant relatives that we will only visit once this year or once in two years even, to help reduce our GHGs, eventually people will get the idea. Education takes great patience. But politicians will only respond when a lot of votes are on the line. More Canadians need to care about this.

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While the European Union seems largely on track to meet those targets, later this month...

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