Rich nations should pay for pollution from exports: China

March 17th, 2009 - 1:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, March 17 (DPA) The world’s wealthiest nations should be responsible for China’s pollution coming from exports, Chinese officials said amid talks with the US on how to combat global warming.
China, the world’s largest polluter together with the US, has a plan in place to reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming even as its economy grows rapidly, said Li Gao, director of China’s department of climate change.

But alluding to some of the toughest barriers to a new global deal on cutting emissions, Li said wealthy nations like the US and Japan should “bear in mind the historical responsibility” for causing global warming.

China’s top climate official, Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua, held a private meeting with US climate envoy Todd Stern Monday in Washington. The two countries, which have so far been left out of global agreements on cutting emissions, are considered crucial to the success of any new deal that is hoped for by the end of this year.

Li, who works under Xie and did not attend the meeting, noted that China’s emissions ranked only 92nd in the world over the last century, and that its per capita emissions were only one-fifth that of the US.

Li said about 15 percent of China’s emissions came from dirtier manufacturing products that are mostly exported to wealthy nations.

The cost of reducing those emissions “should be taken by the consumers, not the producers,” he said.

“We are at the low end of the production line for the global economy,” Li said at a forum by the non-partisan Pew Centre on Global Climate Change.

President Barack Obama has promised to slash greenhouse gas emissions in the US by about 15 percent by 2020 and is pushing Congress to force US companies to pay for their climate-damaging pollution.

But Obama has also said major emerging economies will have to take responsibility for their own growing emissions.

Government officials from around the world hope to agree on a new global climate deal at a meeting in Copenhagen in December.

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