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China urges cooperation ahead of climate talks

Nov. 6, 2013 at 1:15 PM   |   Comments

BEIJING, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- China's top climate change negotiator has urged richer nations to help developing countries cut their emissions, as they had pledged to do in 2009.

Xie Zhenhua, deputy head of China's National Development and Reform Commission, was referring to the 2009 U.N. summit in Copenhagen in which developed nations pledged $100 billion a year by 2020 to help fight climate change.

Although a specific date for donor pledges to begin has still not been decided, developing countries have already contributed a majority of emissions reductions even without promised support from developed countries, Xie said.

"This shows developed countries haven't honored provisions in the [Copenhagen] convention, while developing countries have taken active actions at home to actively tackle climate change," Xie was quoted as saying Tuesday by the Financial Times. "Especially in China, we haven't got any financial or technology support but we've taken actions actively."

Xie's comments come ahead of the U.N. climate change conference opening in Warsaw, Poland Monday. Representatives from some 190 countries will seek to forge a new global climate agreement that will take effect in 2020.

Xie told reporters Tuesday that China is willing to be flexible in Warsaw as long as the talks are fair and recognize that developing and developed countries have common, but different responsibilities, Voice of America reports.

Xie said China reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 1.5 billion tons between 2006 and 2010, and by 300 million to 400 million tons from 2011 to 2012.

Xie, who acknowledged that smoggy weather has virtually become the norm in China, said the country's air pollution problem will be alleviated in five to 10 years.

Last week, Beijing issued heavy pollution warnings three times.

"The cause of air pollution and climate change is the same -- the burning of fossil fuel," Xie was quoted as saying by China Daily Tuesday. "Many of the policies and measures to solve the two issues are also the same, such as reducing coal consumption and controlling the number of motor vehicles."

China, the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, on Tuesday released its annual report for 2012 on the country's efforts to address climate change.

The report said the consumption of non-fossil fuel in 2012 was 9.1 percent, up 1.1 percentage points from 2011.

Carbon emissions per unit of gross domestic product in 2012 fell 5.02 percent compared to 2011, the report says.

The Chinese government aims to cut its emissions per unit of GDP to 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Topics: Xie Zhenhua
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