30 July, 2009

China: Developed countries GHG emissions cut key

“Rich nations must agree to large, measurable cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions, if the world is to set a framework to tackle global warming at U.N.-led talks in December”, a senior Chinese official said on Wednesday, as Reuters reports.

Reuters says that Xie Zhenhua, a deputy chief of the National Development and Reform Commission who steers climate change policy, told the official Xinhua agency that commitment from industrialized countries was crucial to a deal in Copenhagen in December.

Chinese officials, as well as diplomats from other emerging powers as India and Brazil are right to demand a clear, formal and enforceable commitment from developed countries. This is especially true for the US, still debating its first federal climate bill.

But it should also be made clear that no climate deal will work without a comparable commitment by the emerging powers, even though relative to their stage of economic growth. Differentiated commitments are legitimate if they are proportional to the degree of development, and set in relation to the present flow of emissions. Emerging powers should be included into a new Annex, of high-growth, high-emissions, though still developing countries, with compulsory differentiated emissions targets. These targets could be softer, though never symbolic, until 2020, to increase afterwards, giving these countries enough time to convert their economies to a low-carbon pattern. (Sergio Abranches)

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