China to Consider Climate Change Resolution

By Henry Sanderson | August 19, 2009

China’s top legislature will consider a draft resolution on climate change next week, state media said, after a report by the country’s policy experts said the government should take action so the country’s carbon dioxide emissions peak around 2030.

China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and has not set a cap on its emissions, believing it needs to continue to expand its economy and lift millions out of poverty.

The country’s stance is expected to be key to a successful December U.N. conference in Copenhagen, which will try to reach agreement on a treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol for limiting greenhouse gases, which expires in 2012.

Most scientists agree that even a slight increase in global temperatures will wreak havoc as seasons shift, crops fail and storms and droughts ravage fields.

Xinhua gave few details of the legislation but said the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress would consider a climate change resolution and a draft amendment to its renewable energy law at its bimonthly session starting Aug. 24.

The legislation follows a report by several Chinese government bodies and academics that said China should “as soon as possible research and draft targets for relative and absolute caps in the total volume of carbon dioxide emissions.”

The nearly 900-page “2050 China Energy and C02 Emissions Report” said that China’s gross domestic product may exceed America’s by 2030, and its emissions of greenhouse gases will make up 20 to 25 percent of the world’s total emissions.

If China implements cuts on the absolute amount of its emissions, emissions of carbon dioxide will start to slow by 2020 and peak by 2030, it said.

“I think it is realistic, but the cost will be relatively high, and there are also certain requirements on technology and policy that must be reached,” Jiang Kejun, of the Energy Research Institute at the National Development and Reform Commission and one of the authors of the study, told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The report – which was released last month but was not publicized – suggested increasing investment in renewable energy and educating the public about climate change.

Although contributors to the report came from government bodies, Jiang said it was an academic study and he did not know how much impact it would have on government policy.

China’s top climate envoy, Yu Qingtai, said last month that Beijing would like to see a peak in its carbon emissions as soon as possible, but gave no date. He repeated China’s position that developed countries need to make deeper cuts in emissions and provide technology and financing to help their developing counterparts.

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