China has paid a price for its rapid industrial expansion, heavy smog in the cities being the most obvious example.
There’s movement toward a global agreement on climate change, with the U.S. rescinding its demand that China commit to greenhouse gas emissions at the level of those in already-developed countries.
Progress towards a global treaty to fight climate change took an important step forward today when the US said it would not demand that China commits to binding cuts of its greenhouse gas emissions.
The move came on the last day of the latest round of UN climate change talks involving 183 nations, which aim to produce a deal in Copenhagen in December.
Jonathan Pershing, head of the US delegation in Bonn, said developing nations—seeking to grow their economies and alleviate poverty—would instead be asked to commit to other actions. These include boosting energy efficiency standards and improving the take-up of renewable energy, but would not deliver specific reductions. He said: “We’re saying that the actions of developing countries should be binding, not the outcomes of those actions.”
Only developed nations, including the US, would be expected to guarantee cuts. The pledge was included in a US blueprint for a climate change deal submitted to the Bonn meeting, which Pershing said was based on the need for the rich nations to cut greenhouse gases 80% by 2050.