China wants a piece of pol­luters’ GDP

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THE US re­jected a Chi­nese pro­posal that de­vel­oped coun­tries should con­trib­ute a per­cent­age of their gross do­mes­tic prod­uct to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of cli­mate change.

China, the world’s sec­ond-big­gest emit­ter of car­bon diox­ide, called for de­vel­oped na­tions to pro­vide fi­nan­cial sup­port of 0.5 per cent of their GDP a year to help it and other de­vel­op­ing na­tions fight global warm­ing.

Asked whether China’s pro­posal is rea­son­able, Har­lan Wat­son, the US cli­mate-change ne­go­tia­tor, said, ‘‘ No’’. In an in­ter­view in Bangkok, Wat­son de­scribed the pro­posal as an ‘‘ in­ter­est­ing sug­ges­tion’’. ‘‘ I am sure we will have a dis­cus­sion on that,’’ he said.

Wat­son and more than 160 other del­e­gates around the world are meet­ing in Thai­land’s cap­i­tal this week to de­velop a frame­work to re­place the Ky­oto Pro­to­col.

The treaty, crafted in the Ja­panese city in 1997, re­quires de­vel­oped na­tions to re­duce emis­sions of green­house gases blamed for global warm­ing in the five years through 2012. The US hasn’t rat­i­fied the ac­cord, say­ing fast­grow­ing de­vel­op­ing na­tions in­clud­ing China should also curb emis­sions.

The pro­posal by China was among 26 sub­mis­sions pub­lished this month on the web­site of the United Na­tions Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change as part of on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions to write a new in­ter­na­tional cli­mate-pro­tec­tion agree­ment.

The Euro­pean Union and the US caused the build-up of the world’s emis­sions, ac­count­ing for more than half of cu­mu­la­tive emis­sions from 1900 to 2005, while China and In­dia con­trib­uted 8 per cent and 2 per cent, re­spec­tively, the Paris-based In­ter­na­tional En­ergy Agency said in Novem­ber.

The US is the big­gest emit­ter, ac­cord­ing to the latest IEA fig­ures. The sum sought by China would amount to $650 bil­lion a year from the US, ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg data.

The US is seek­ing to ac­cel­er­ate ef­forts to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of cli­mate change, Wat­son said. ‘‘ We be­lieve that views we are push­ing for­ward here will be very com­pat­i­ble with our next ad­min­is­tra­tion,’’ Wat­son said. ‘‘ We see our legacy as set­ting the stage for the next agree­ment.’’ US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions will be held in Novem­ber.

The ef­fect of a pos­si­ble US re­ces­sion on the na­tion’s con­tri­bu­tion to com­bat­ing cli­mate change was ‘‘ one of the big con­cerns,’’ he said. Bloomberg

Pic­ture: AFP

In search of a frame­work: Yvo de Boer of the United Na­tions speaks at the cli­mate change con­fer­ence in Bangkok

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