Beijing Slams Europe Emissions Effort (Updated)

The Wall Street Journal reports on China’s tough words in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate change summit:

China’s top climate envoy lashed out at Europe for failing to meet its previous greenhouse-gas commitments, and said reaching an agreement at the global warming summit in Copenhagen next month is essential.

“Europe made a lot of commitments. But if you compare those commitments to actions, there is a big disparity,” China’s special envoy on climate change, Yu Qingtai, told reporters Wednesday. He said Europe had failed to meet its previous promises to cut greenhouse gases and deliver on technology transfer and aid to poor countries.

Mr. Yu’s comments reinforce China’s tough negotiating stance less than two weeks ahead of the Dec. 7 global climate summit in the Danish capital. China has repeatedly called for a global agreement on carbon emissions, but has been unwilling to commit to the kind of difficult sacrifices needed to reach one, saying the burden lies on wealthier nations.

Also related, see “Copenhagen conference: Fears China may downgrade emissions target” from the Guardian.

Update: Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the Copenhagen summit, and China has also announced a plan to cut its carbon emissions by up to 45 percent as measured against its economic output. From AP:

The announcement comes a day after President Barack Obama promised the U.S. would lay out plans to substantially cut its greenhouse gas emissions at the summit.

China announced earlier Thursday that Premier Wen Jiabao will take part in the Copenhagen meeting to show the country’s commitment to the global effort to reduce greenhouse emissions. The State Council announcement proposes to cut carbon intensity – carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product – by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, compared with levels in 2005.

The goal does not mean that it will cut its total carbon emissions by 2020. In fact, given the expected huge increases in its economy over the next decade, its global warming emissions should increase – but at a much slower pace than if China had made no changes.