Developed countries should take a lead in adopting verifiable goals to greatly reduce per capita carbon emissions, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said Tuesday.
Hong said at a regular press conference that according to statistics of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the current level of per capita emissions in the developed countries is several times that of developing countries.
Hong made the remarks in response to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comment Sunday that emerging economies must share part of the burden in reducing emissions along with industrialized nations, which she said is of “fundamental importance” to China.
Hong said China places great importance on climate change. He said the Chinese government has adopted reduction goals, taken actions and achieved results that are “not less sufficient” than any developed countries and are fully recognized by all countries.
Hong said China has demonstrated a great sense of responsibility on global issues with “no empty talk and focus on action and results.”
From 2006 to 2010, China has cut the amount of carbon produced per unit of economic output by 19.1 percent, compared to that in 2005.
Hong emphasized that climate change is a daunting challenge. It requires joint responses by all countries in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the “common but differentiated responsibilities” principle set by the Convention.
“We are ready to continue to work with the international community, including Germany, to jointly advance international cooperation on addressing climate change in line with the requirements of the Convention and Kyoto Protocol and the authorization of the Bali Roadmap,” Hong said.
Scientists and a UN panel on climate change have proposed developed countries cut 25 to 40 percent of their carbon emissions as per 1990s levels. However, the commitments made so far by developed countries collectively amounted to only a 13 to 17 percent cut.
Spokesman Hong said the Chinese side agreed with the proposition that per capita carbon emission should be reduced in order to achieve the goal of limiting the rise of global temperatures by two degrees Celsius.
Merkel said Sunday that achieving the goal would require reducing carbon dioxide emissions per capita each year to two tonnes, with the U.S. standing at 20 tonnes, Germany at 10 tonnes and China around 4 tonnes.
The Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact legally binding 37 rich countries to cut emissions, is set to expire at the end of 2012. But developed and developing countries are divided on whether to progress the protocol to the second phase or scrap it and set up new rules.
At international climate talks held in Bonn, Germany in June, Chinese delegation head Su Wei said developed countries should make progress on extending the Kyoto Protocol and setting new emissions cuts targets, and those rich nations that have refused to join Kyoto must make “comparable commitments.”
He said long-term climate funding will be a focus at the UN climate conference to be held in Durban in South Africa later this year.
At the 2009 Copenhagen summit, developed countries pledged to offer 30 billion U.S. dollars of “fast start” aid to poor nations to combat climate change and obtain clean-energy technology from 2010 to 2012. But part of the funds is not “new and additional financial aid” as required in Copenhagen. Until now, there has been no concrete financial aid promises from developed countries beyond 2013.
Last year’s Cancun deal included a formation of the so-called Green Climate Fund, in which developed countries will channel 100 billion dollars of climate funding per year by 2020. But how to raise and allocate the money remains unclear.
“We must find solutions to mid-term funds from 2013 to 2020 in Durban, and developed countries should fulfill their commitments in Copenhagen and Cancun,” Su said.