Green China

China's climate stance at Copenhagen

Updated: 2009-12-08 10:15
Large Medium Small

Negotiators meet in Copenhagen from Monday for a UN conference seeking to create a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, the UN-backed pact governing countries' actions against climate change up to end of 2012.

Here are some details about China's stance at the talks, what the country has already promised to do to cut emissions and what it would like to see offered by developed nations:

* China says it is threatened by global warming and the shrinking glaciers, expanding deserts, prolonged droughts and more intense storms predicted to come with a warming world.

* China is said to be the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases from human activity. In 2008, its output of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas from burning fossil fuels, reached 6.8 billion metric tonnes, a rise of 178 percent over levels in 1990, according to the IWR, a German renewable energy institute. US emissions rose 17 percent over that time to 6.4 billion tonnes.

* But China's average greenhouse gas emissions per person are much lower than those of rich nations. The average American is responsible for greenhouse gas emissions equal to 25.0 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, compared to 5.8 tonnes for the average Chinese, according to the World Resources Institute.

* China says global warming has been overwhelmingly caused by the accumulated greenhouse gas emissions of rich economies, and they should lead in dramatically cutting emissions, giving poor countries room to develop and expand emissions in coming decades.

* China says industrialised nations should also transfer much more green technology to poorer nations, and has demanded that they commit up to one percent of their economic worth to helping poor nations fight global warming.

* Last month, China said it would cut its carbon intensity -- the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of GDP -- by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. This goal was the first measurable curb on national emissions in China.

* China has ratified the Kyoto Protocol. As a developing country, China is not required by the protocol to set binding targets to control greenhouse gas emissions.