China steps up on Greenhouse issue Media Release

Sep 02, 2007 - 7:16am

As regional leaders prepare to descend on Sydney for this year’s APEC summit to discuss climate change, The Climate Institute has released a paper highlighting that China is taking significant steps to rein in greenhouse pollution from its rapid industrial expansion. These steps go beyond China’s current obligations as a party to the UN’s climate convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

“Many commentators in the government, the media and business have been portraying China as the greenhouse bogey man hiding under our beds,” said Erwin Jackson, Director, Policy and Research at The Climate Institute. “This is misleading at best and an attempt to set back international climate talks by more then a decade at worst.”

“China is now one of the world’s largest emitters, and will need to take on reduction targets in the future. However, it will take decades for China’s contribution to climate change to exceed that of major developed countries, such as the USA and the EU. A mature and effective international response to climate change needs to recognise this reality and acknowledge that China is taking domestic action over and above its international obligations.”

The briefing highlights that:

  • Overall, by 2010, policies in China are projected to avoid at least 200 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution. This figure could grow to at least 1,700 million tonnes per year by 2010, if more recent policies are effective. This is the equivalent of shutting down Australia’s power stations for nearly a decade.
  • Over half of all of the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects have been registered in China. An additional 570 CDM projects are in the registration process. These investments in China through Kyoto’s carbon trading market could avoid at least 56 – 89 million tonnes of greenhouse pollution a year.
  • China is emerging as one of the world’s clean energy super powers. Renewable energy investment in China in 2006 was around $7.7 billion, which is around 9% of the $85.6 billion dollars invested in renewable energy globally.

“China’s domestic targets and plans are very ambitious by world standards. However, to achieve their full potential many domestic implementation barriers will need to be overcome and the current international emission reduction framework under the UN’s climate convention and Kyoto strengthened and expanded,” said Mr Jackson. “Without industrialised countries taking on strong short-term pollution reduction targets, backed by internationally consistent domestic emissions trading schemes, there will not be a robust and significant international carbon market. This puts at risk incentives for business to invest greenhouse pollution reductions in China.”

“APEC could play important role in building momentum towards an effective Bali meeting of the UN’s climate convention and Kyoto Protocol in December and help avoid dangerous climate change. To build momentum and international consensus, APEC leaders should endorse the need to reverse rising global greenhouse pollution by 2015 as well as a long-term reduction goal of at least a 50% reduction by 2050; reiterate the need for binding short-term pollution reduction targets for industrialised countries; agree to enhance existing incentives for pollution reductions in developing countries, and call for a conclusion to the current round of UNFCCC/Kyoto negotiations by 2009.”

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