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UPDATED: August 7, 2009
Billions from Stimulus Tagged to Cut Emissions
China is trying to tackle global warming both ambitiously and seriously

More than 15 percent of the country's 4-trillion-yuan ($587 billion) stimulus package will be spent on cutting carbon emissions by the end of 2010, China's chief climate change negotiator said yesterday.

China is trying to tackle global warming "both ambitiously and seriously", said Ambassador Yu Qingtai, the country's special representative for climate change negotiations.

This is the first time the government has announced using funds for green initiatives from the stimulus package, which was unveiled last year.

China's efforts have won international recognition.

The share of stimulus investment going into fighting climate change is quite impressive, even compared with developed countries, according to Dennis Pamlin, the World Wildlife Fund's global policy adviser.

Yu said some developed countries just "give lip service but no concrete actions" toward solving global warming; he urged those countries to reduce at least 40 percent of their carbon emissions by 2020 from the 1990s base.

Yu said he is optimistic that upcoming negotiations will produce a new treaty to fight global warming, but developed countries have slowed the process by not setting an emission-reduction target.

Participants at a UN conference in Copenhagen in December will try to reach an agreement on a treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol for limiting greenhouse gases. The protocol expires in 2012.

"China is committed and is serious about getting promises delivered and we also urgently hope the developed countries can act now and focus on concrete actions, instead of talking," Yu said before heading on Friday to Bonn, Germany, to attend another round of climate change talks prior to the Copenhagen summit.

The Associated Press reported that China and other developing countries want developed countries to reduce their emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels, but the U.S. has said that is not feasible.

A climate bill that still needs to be approved by the U.S. Senate falls far short of that.

Yu said developing countries, especially India, insisted that target be met.

He said developed countries should not only set emission-reduction targets but be willing to transfer technology to their developing counterparts.

"Lack of political will is the fundamental cause of the slow progress of climate change talks in finding a global deal to replace the Kyoto Protocol," said Yu.

China has "never shaken its determination and slowed down its pace in tackling global warming" even when the financial crisis hit, Yu said. China will invest 210 billion yuan from its stimulus package in energy conservation, pollution reduction and ecological improvements.

Another 370 billion yuan will be channeled into technological upgrades and industrial restructuring in the country's energy-intensive factories.

Pamlin, of the WWF, told China Daily that China has been moving in the right direction to approach the global warming challenge in a way that could turn it into an opportunity.

"All the efforts China has made show that China is not following in the unsustainable footsteps of the West when it economically took off," said Pamlin.

(China Daily August 6, 2009)

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