China: Rich should pay to fight climate change

Tuesday, October 28th 2008, 11:59 am
By: News 9


Associated Press Writer

BEIJING (AP) -- China said Tuesday richer countries should set aside 1 percent of their gross domestic product to help poorer nations fight global warming.

China has long called on developed countries to shoulder what it says is their historic burden to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that are chiefly responsible for causing a rise in global temperatures. But the latest remarks by a senior Chinese climate official were the first to propose specific demands on rich countries.

"The funds that developed countries provide for developing countries to deal with climate change should represent approximately 1 percent of the GDP of the developed countries," said Gao Guangsheng, who heads the climate change office at the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning body.

An international mechanism also needs to be established to support the transfer of technology to cut harmful emissions, Gao said, according to a transcript of a news conference posted on the Web site of the information office of the State Council, or Cabinet.

China now generates a large share of the world's greenhouse gases, with some experts saying it has already overtaken the U.S. as the world's No. 1 emitter.

Gao said the developing countries had to take action to fight climate change, but that richer countries must provide money and technology to help poorer ones.

Negotiations are continuing on a successor to the U.N.-sponsored Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. A major U.N. climate change conference in December in the Polish city of Poznan will include delegates from more than 190 countries.

Gao's remarks also come ahead of an international conference on climate change next month in Beijing, organized by the U.N. and the Chinese government, to promote transfer of international green technology.

Environment ministers from the U.S., China, Canada, India and the European Union have said the world financial crisis must not halt efforts to combat global warming.

The U.S. rejected the Kyoto accord, arguing it would harm American business and made no comparable demands on emerging economies. China, India and other large developing countries signed the accord but refused to accept a binding agreement that they said would limit their development and their ability to ease poverty at home.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)