by Jake Schmidt
China just released a “white paper” on its “policies and actions on climate change” which outlines the challenges of climate change to China (e.g., both the impacts and the challenge posed by its reliance on coal), its strategies to address emissions, and the outline of its position for the negotiations to reach a post-2012 international global warming agreement in Copenhagen.
What actions developing countries undertake to address global warming pollution will be one of the central elements of the agreement to be reached in Copenhagen. And in the eyes of many policymakers this is largely (although not completely) a question of what is China going to do. So anytime that China says something on climate change all ears perk up. This used to be a rare occurrence, but China has increasingly made public statements on climate change (e.g., the release of their first National Climate Change Programme last year and President Hu Jintao’s speech to the nation’s top party leaders as my colleague David Doniger discussed).
So when Minister Xie Zhenhua of the National Development Reform Commission (the Ministry that directs climate change policy) spoke at a press conference and released a “white paper” on climate change, I was paying attention (as were others).
So, what did they say? In essence they laid out their three part vision for the international agreement (although this wasn’t explicitly how it was framed):
The first part of this vision is that:
"Developed countries should be responsible for their accumulative emissions and current high per-capita emissions, and take the lead in reducing emissions..." (as reported by the Associated Press).…and their second element is that developed countries need to take the lead in:
"providing financial support and transferring technologies to developing countries."Their final piece was a point they’ve made before but never in official government statements. Specifically that:
"The developing countries, while developing their economies and fighting poverty, should actively… reduce their emissions to the lowest degree..."Continued...