EU leaders want details on China emissions plan

AP News
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Posted: Dec 01, 2009 1:07 AM

China should provide details on how it will implement its greenhouse gas limits and offer further proposals commensurate with its status as the world's largest emitter, European leaders said Tuesday.

China promised Thursday to nearly halve the ratio of pollution to GDP over the next decade _ a major voluntary step that came a day after President Barack Obama promised the U.S. would lay out plans at this month's global warming conference in Copenhagen to substantially cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.

China's plan does not commit it to an overall reduction in emissions, which will continue to increase, though at a slower rate.

Following a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said the Europeans wanted to analyze the figures and find out precisely what measures Beijing plans to put into place and "how it will differ from their business as usual pathway in regards to emissions."

Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, credited China with pursuing renewable energy and nuclear power as a substitute for coal-burning plants that spew carbon.

However, China's status as a major source of increase in global emissions means requires Beijing to do more, Reinfeldt said, citing a continuing rise in global temperatures.

Scientists believe a 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) increase in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels would lead to destructively rising seas and climate shifts that would produce droughts, floods and other severe disruptions.

The announcements by Beijing and Washington add significant weight toward achieving a global agreement, though the Dec. 7-18 Copenhagen conference is unlikely to produce a binding deal as hoped.

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Climate change was among the issues raised in sometimes contentious talks at Monday's one-day summit between China and the 27-member European Union, China's largest trading partner, with a market of more than 500 million people.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso had earlier welcomed China's emissions pledge and on Tuesday appeared to reference Beijing's insistence that developed nations take the lead in reducing emissions.

"We only have one planet and there is a shared responsibility for the future, of course with different levels of contribution," Barroso said.