Though China has agreed to make efforts to control greenhouses gasses, and have put into place their first national program to fight global warming, they have refused proposed caps on emissions suggesting that they are unfair to developing countries that have yet to catch up with the economic status of the West, reports CNN.
China’s new program has offered little in the way of new targets that decrease the emissions of greenhouse gasses that are believed to contribute to global warming. They used as a guideline a previously issued government goal set to improve their energy efficiency by 20 per cent over the level used in 2005.
Ma Kai, the minister heading the National Development and Reform Commission, the Cabinet-level economic planning agency, stated that the primary responsibility to combat climate change still was that of the more industrialized nations more capable of doing so. He said, “China is a developing country. Although we do not have the obligation to cut emissions, it does not mean we do not want to shoulder our share of responsibilities…we must reconcile the need for development with the need for environmental protection,” he told reporters. “In its course of modernization, China will not tread the traditional path of industrialization, featuring high consumption and high emissions. In fact, we want to blaze a new path to industrialization.”
Ma also suggested that industrialized nations have other responsibilities to China, a country whose “overriding priority at the moment is still economic development and poverty eradication.”
In the next two years China is expected to pass the United States and become the number one emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. China has one-fifth of the world’s population and still uses coal for two-thirds of its fuel, one of the dirtiest, reports CNN.
Ma commented on United States President George W. Bush’s new policies on global warming as a “useful complement” to the United Nations’ Kyoto Protocol, but that it should not be replace the treaty. The Kyoto treaty expires in 2012.
According to Ma, global warming has come about as an effect of 200 years of industrialization, unrestricted, in the West, and that now it is unfair to impose upon unindustrialized nations mandatory emissions caps. This applies to China as well as other underdeveloped countries. He stated, “It is neither realistic nor fair to … overlook the different stages of development that different countries are in and to use climate change as an excuse to ask them to undertake quantified emissions-reductions commitments…This would hinder the development of developing countries and hamper their industrialization.”