China says pledge on emission cuts not subject to international scrutiny

December 7th, 2009 - 2:19 pm ICT by ANI  

Beijing, Dec 7 (ANI): Chinese officials have said that their country’s pledge to reduce its carbon emissions relative to the growth of its economy will not be binding or subject to international verification, thereby casting doubts on the effectiveness of any agreements expected to be reached this week in Copenhagen, Denmark.

China, the leading global carbon emitter, will account for about 29 percent of total global emissions by 2030, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

It had announced on November 26 that it would cut carbon emissions per unit of its gross domestic product (GDP) by between 40 percent and 45 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.

The pledge, however, raised many questions about how the reductions would be verified, the Washington Times reports.

Xie Zhenhua, vice director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top planning body, said China’s carbon-intensity goals would be subject to domestic accountability systems that he did not specify. He said the goals would not be internationally binding nor subject to foreign verification.

The carbon goals will be part of China’s next five-year plan but won’t go into effect officially until 2011, when that plan begins and likely will take time to implement.

China will “reduce the speed of our emissions rise,” but still needs to balance environmental and economic factors, Xie said.

According to the Beijing office of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), China’s new policy - if fully implemented - would prevent about four billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released over the next decade, slowing the rate of emissions growth slightly but not markedly diverting China from its upward trajectory.

On Thursday, India announced a similar goal of cutting emissions intensity by 20 percent to 25 percent from 2005 to 2020.

Like China, India’s carbon cuts would be relative to GDP.

A Price Waterhouse Coopers report released Dec. 1 said that the United States, the European Union, China and India would account for 63 percent of global carbon emissions between 2000 and 2050.

The report also stated that at the current rate of emissions growth, the global “carbon budget” that needs to be met during that period to prevent the worst effects of climate change would be expended in the next 16 years. (ANI)

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