Thu, Sep 24, 2009 - Page 1 News List

China, US attempt a jump-start for world climate talks


China laid out a plan to curb carbon emissions by 2020, while US President Barack Obama called on all nations to act now to tackle global warming as world leaders tried to inject momentum into climate change talks.

With less than three months until a UN conference aimed at sealing the world’s toughest pact to fight climate change, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday called global leaders at the summit to give negotiations an extra shrove.

“While the summit is not the guarantee that we will get the global agreement, we are certainly one step closer to that global goal today,” Ban said.

The one-day summit drew nearly 100 heads of state before official talks among 190 nations in Copenhagen in December to forge a replacement to the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase runs out at the end of 2012.

Analysts and green groups gave cautious praise to China and Japan, but said Obama’s speech was long on rhetoric but short on specific pledges of US action.

In his address, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) said China’s new plan included vigorously developing renewable and nuclear energy and promised emissions would grow slower than economic growth in the future.

“We will endeavor to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level,” Hu said.

The pledge, which marked the first time China has said it will accept measurable curbs on its emissions, was seen as an attempt to counter critics, especially in the US, who say Beijing is doing too little to fight climate change.

Hu did not include specific figures, however. A Chinese official said those would be ready soon. But the step comes in addition to China’s current aim to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by about 20 percent by next year compared with 2005 levels.

New Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama won plaudits for pledging to offer more aid to help developing countries deal with climate change and repeated his goal of reducing Japanese greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels by 2020.

Hatoyama also proposed setting up a framework to coordinate climate change aid, but did not give details of how much cash or what kind of technological assistance Japan would provide.

Obama outlined his administration’s work on climate since he took office in January and said the US was committed to act. However, he offered no new proposals and did not urge quick US Senate passage of a climate bill, which many observers see as crucial to reaching an international deal.

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