Monday, February 05, 2007

China's national plan for climate change

From Reuters via Development Crossing.

China preparing national plan for climate change
BEIJING (Reuters) - China is preparing its first plan to battle climate change, a senior policy adviser said, stressing rising alarm about global warming in a nation where economic growth has gone untethered.

Zou Ji, a climate policy expert at the People's University of China in Beijing, told Reuters the national program will probably set broad goals for emissions and coping with changing weather patterns.

It is likely to be released this year after at least two years of preparation and bureaucratic bargaining, he said.

In reaction to the recent IPPC report:
"As a responsible great power, China won't evade its duty," Pan told the paper. "There's tremendous pressure to reduce emissions, but this won't be solved overnight."

Zou said the program was awaiting approval from China's cabinet, or State Council, after being vetted by over a dozen ministries and agencies, but preparations for a major Communist Party congress later this year may slow its release.

The dilemma facing President Hu Jintao is how to translate concern into policies that deliver growth and jobs while cutting fossil fuel use and greenhouse gases, said Alan Dupont, an expert on climate change and security at the University of Sydney.

"The whole stability of the regime and, as Hu would see it, the future of his country, depends on the continuation of economic growth of 8 and 9 percent," Dupont said.

"But the realization is dawning on them that China will not get to where it wants to go unless it deals with climate change."

In China's secretive, top-down government, few major policy shifts are advertised beforehand. But there have been growing signs that Beijing is worried about how global warming could frustrate ambitions for prosperity, stability and influence.

Climate experts have been preparing a presentation on global warming for China's top leaders, the first time one of their regular study sessions will be devoted to climate change and a sure sign the issue is climbing the political ladder, said Zou.

It is good to see some positive progress although this article makes it clear that the over riding factor as always is "economics" with jobs and growth remaining the priority. At least other considerations are being thrown into the policy making pot.

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