China Will Not Commit to Binding Emissions Reduction Targets, Official Says

shopping in china photo

Raising living standards is laudable in any country. But to do that at the expense of ecosystems both locally and globally, which could easily happen without serious emission reductions commitments, does no one any good. Photo: Paolo Vasta via flickr.

Yesterday I went on about how comments from the US regarding how China ought to making deeper commitments to reduce their CO2 emissions. My take was that no one really has a right to point fingers on this issue, every nation's commitments being below what the science indicates is needed. Well, an AFP article reprinted by World Business Council for Sustainable Development is no more encouraging. This time it's China's turn:

China is still a developing country and the present task confronting China is to develop its economy and alleviate poverty, as well as raise the living standard of its people.

Given that, it is natural for China to have some increase in its emissions, so it is not possible for China in that context to accept a binding or compulsory target.

That's from China foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang.

The Desire to Grow Needs to Happen Through Low Carbon Growth
I understand China's desire to develop its economy. The fact that China leads the world in national carbon emissions hides the fact that on a per capita basis, China's people themselves have very low emissions and could certainly benefit from some growth there.

But considering China's stated goals for expanding renewable energy (equal to the EU's commitment) and greening its economy more broadly, China should step up and make some sort of binding commitment to reduce emissions.

If it truly wants to a better future for it's people it ought to recognize, as US climate envoy Todd Stern iterated in the same article that China's development needs to be based on low carbon growth. (Ditto for the US, Todd...)

Political Posturing Doesn't Help Slow Climate Change One Bit
All of humanity is bound together by the threat of climate chaos in the coming decades, and there is no more room for mealy mouthed pseudo commitments—from anybody. If we do not reduce emissions on a global scale to ensure that temperature increases don't rise about 2°C all the economic growth in the world, all the striving for material prosperity, won't save us or the ecosystems we all depend upon.

More: World Business Council for Sustainable Development (hat tip: Yale Environment 360)

China, Carbon Emissions
US Posturing on China's Carbon Emissions Scarier Than the Emissions Themselves
West 'Responsible' For Third of China's CO2 Emissions
Will China and the US Go Big on Climate Cooperation?

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