Monday, June 04, 2007

China's First Plan on Climate Change: Poverty first

In a timely release ahead of the G8 summit, China today launched its "first plan on climate change".

This is an interesting follow up to the previous post and as can be seen, climate change is one thing but growth and poverty reduction are still far more important to developing countries especially in China where political sensitivities are still playing out.

The BBC headline says it all "China puts economy before climate". How anyone could have expected any different would be more of a surprise.
"The first and overriding priorities of developing countries are sustainable development and poverty eradication," says the Chinese plan.

What China does recognise however is that it is likely to suffer some of the greatest costs from climate change. That should be incentive enough for them to act swiftly.

Indeed, China is good at setting targets:
They are a strong declaration of intentions, but so far China has missed almost every environmental target it has set itself, our correspondent says.

The sheer scale of Chinese growth and the reliance of coal means that it is unlikely that CO2 emissions will be stabilise for another 20 years or so. The economic reasoning for this is sound. In my opinion this puts greater emphasis on the West to cut their emissions to offset the growth in China's.

A couple of links:

China puts economy before climate[BBC]

China to enact national action plan on climate change[Official Chinese government website]

China's climate change plan due ahead of G8 summit

China to enact first plan on climate change

An indication that China is more than aware of the impact of climate change can be seen here.

China Says Impact of Climate Change Clearer Daily

BEIJING - The impact of global warming on China is clearer each day, but climate change must be tackled in a way that allows sustainable development, a top-level meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao agreed.

The world's number two emitter of greenhouse gasses will release its first national plan to curb rising emissions next week, seeking to rebut international criticism that it is not doing enough on the issue.

Officials in China's State Council, or cabinet, called at their meeting for countries to bear "shared but different" responsibilities to combat rising temperatures, a report posted on the main government Web site ( on Friday said.

The comments were in line with Beijing's stance that China should not have to sacrifice the emissions-intensive economic growth which industrialised nations went through on their path to greater prosperity.

It says China's low per capita emissions levels, and rich countries' responsibility for most of the global warming gasses in the atmosphere, mean the West should take stronger action to cut its own pollution.

However the cabinet agreed climate change had a direct impact on the country's fundamental interests, and China attached great importance to tackling it, the report said.

"Every region and government department should fully recognise the importance and urgency of combating climate change," it added.

China looks set to become the world's top emitter of carbon dioxide this year or next, just as serious talks start to extend the UN-sponsored Kyoto Protocol on global warming beyond 2012.

Next week President Hu Jintao attends a meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Germany at which global warming will be high on the agenda.

But Chinese officials have already reaffirmed Beijing's rejection of compulsory caps on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that scientists say are heating the planet.

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