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China and the U.S.: A Bumpy Road to a Green Climate

carbonemissionsIn the latest round of climate talks between China and the U.S., China wants the United States to deliver state-of-the-art technology as part of a new global warming agreement, while the U.S. wants China to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, reports Google News.

China, India and other developing countries say emission targets would constrain their economic growth, reports Google News. Shyam Saran, the chief delegate from India, said in the article that he wants industrialized countries to cut their emissions by a total of 40 percent below 1990 levels within the next decade, while refusing emissions targets for developing countries.

Saran also said that developing countries would consider measures to curb the growth of emissions, but only in exchange for technology and funding from rich countries — possibly as much as $250 billion a year.

The chief U.S. climate negotiator Jonathan Pershing says China should agree to take action to cut carbon emissions that should be measured and reported to the international community, but should not be bound to specific targets or results, reports the Boston Herald. Pershing was a participant in a recent U.S. climate change delegation to Beijing.

U.S. negotiator Todd Stern said the United States wants China to accept slow increases in its greenhouse gas emissions until it hits a “peak year,” reports Physorg.com.

Todd also talked to Chinese officials about a greenhouse gas concentration target of 450 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere, but did not get a clear position from them, reports Physorg.com.

Meanwhile, the European Union wants China to use world carbon trading initiatives to achieve more effective CO2 cuts, reports the Guardian.

China has been the most active participant in the clean development mechanism (CDM), which allows developed countries to meet mandatory CO2 reduction targets by buying offsets for clean energy projects in the developing world.

However, critics say that China has been using the carbon trading profits to support “business as usual” pursuits such as cutting industrial gases or building hydropower projects, which they would have pursued anyway, reports the Guardian.

A report indicates that one of the biggest problems facing the CDM is that it is difficult to determine if the green projects rich nations are funding in developing countries such as China or India would have taken place without the funding.

China believes the CDM projects have proved successful in the fight against climate change, reports the China Daily. China has 574 CDM projects registered with the UN, accounting for about 34.5 percent of the program’s projects the world body has approved globally, reports the newspaper.

Gao Guangsheng, director general of the Department of Climate Change at the National Development and Reform Commission, told the China Daily that the expanding carbon credit trading market is a result of efforts from the Chinese government “in lowering the costs of emissions reduction through those projects and offering favorable policies.”

World players say an understanding between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest polluters, is necessary for the success of the climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

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