BEIJING - China said on Thursday Japan's announcement of a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions falls short of international expectations to tackle climate change.
"The new target equates to only a two percent advance from Japan's previous pledge in the first commitment period," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a routine press conference.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso announced Wednesday a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels as Japan's midterm target for 2020. That's equivalent to an eight percent cut from the levels in 1990 -- the benchmark used in UN negotiations.
Under the Kyoto Protocol, Japan had promised to reduce its 1990 emissions by six percent by the end of 2012, or the first commitment period.
"This target actually falls far short from the present task of tackling climate change as well as the aspirations of the international community," Qin said. "We believe the international community can make an objective and fair assessment of Japan's new target."
Qin stressed that China calls on adherence to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, Bali roadmap, and the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities." This will ensure the success of a UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Qin said.
He added developed nations should take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and settle the reduction target for the second commitment period in the Denmark capital.
"In other words, the developed nations should collectively cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990," Qin said.
He also urged developed countries to offer technological, financial and capacity building support to help developing countries address challenges posed by climate change.
Qin said tackling climate change, energy saving and emission cut have always been an important part in China's national development planning.
"We will continue our efforts to promote energy saving, energy efficiency and renewable energy as part of our contribution to the international endeavor to curb climate change," Qin said.
However, the spokesman also stressed that the priority task for China, the largest developing country in the world, is to boost its economic development, which makes it "impossible" to accept any binding or compulsory target on emissions reduction.