US President George W. Bush's steps to establish a new international climate
change framework outside of the Kyoto Protocol should complement international
treaties rather than replace them, a senior official said yesterday.
Ma Kai, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC),
made these remarks at the launch of China's first national climate change
On Thursday, Bush announced that the US would assemble the world's 15 largest
greenhouse gas emitters, including the US, Japan and China, to seek a long-term
global reduction of emissions. He said they should produce a plan to address
climate change by the end of next year.
Ma said the international community should hold "more discussions" on this
initiative. Also, any such initiatives should adhere to the principle of "common
but differentiated responsibilities" included in the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), he said.
China's stance on this issue is written into the national program unveiled
yesterday. It says "regional cooperation on climate change, in any form, should
function as a helpful complement to the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol rather than
replacing or weakening them".
But Ma said China welcomes the initiative as it signals a change of attitude
in the US towards the issue.
"China agrees with the US in that mitigating climate change does not
necessarily mean slowing down economic growth, and that technology is the key to
addressing the problem," he said.
Ma also said more studies were needed for the European Union's proposal of
limiting global warming to 2 C, especially as it "lacks explanations on the
economic and social impact of the cap".
The "2 C proposal" was raised by Germany, the current chair of the EU, before
the G8+5 summit, which is slated for tomorrow. The proposal says the global
average temperature should not be allowed to increase by more than 2 C before
being brought back down. Under that proposal, global greenhouse gas emissions
would have to be cut to less than half the amount emitted in 1990 by 2050.
Intensive talks are underway about what steps the international community
should take after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. It was reported last month
that European and Asian foreign ministers had agreed to complete negotiations on
a new international climate change pact to limit greenhouse gases by 2009, and
that Asian developing nations will not have to adhere to set targets.
Li Liyan, an official with the office of the national coordination committee
on climate change under the NDRC, said before the UNFCCC holds its assembly in
December, it would be "too early" to conclude what the new treaty would be like.
But whatever happens, China will not promise any emission caps, Li said.
However, it will not shirk its responsibility. As well as the national program,
it will set up a National Leading Group to Address Climate Change headed by Wen
(China Daily 06/05/2007 page4)