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December 10, 2009

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China calls rich nations deceptive on emissions

CHINA has accused the rich world's largest emitters of setting themselves "unambitious and deceptive" targets for planned cuts.

Senior Chinese negotiator Su Wei said that the United States had set a goal that was "not notable," the European Union's target was "not enough,'' and Japan had set "impossible preconditions."

China has led calls by developing nations for a strong commitment from developed countries at the December 7-18 climate talks in Copenhagen.

Su also derided a mooted US$10 billion in yearly financial help from rich nations as a drop in the ocean.

"If divided by the world population it is less than US$2 per person," he said.

This would not cover a coffee in the rich world or a coffin in poor countries that were at the sharp end of changes in climate, he said.

Su said that the success of the Copenhagen talks hinged in part on the offer brought to the table by the United States, the world's number two emitter behind China.

He dismissed the target for 2020 that US President Barack Obama has laid out and criticized Washington for failing to rein in its emissions, unlike other developed nations.

"Currently the target is to reduce emissions 17 percent from the 2005 level. I think for all of us this figure cannot be regarded as remarkable or notable," Su told a news conference on Tuesday on the sidelines of the summit.

Su said all the rich nation targets broadly fell short of the emissions cuts recommended by a United Nations panel of scientists. The panel has said reductions of 25 to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 are needed to avoid the worst of global warming.

Su called a unilateral European Union cut of 20 percent insufficient, and even a sharper 30-percent cut - which the bloc has said it may shift to depending on other cuts - as "still too easy."

He also criticized the new government in Japan for setting "impossible" conditions on its offer of a 25-percent cut by 2020.

Japan, the world's fifth largest emitter, has said its commitment depends on ambitious goals being agreed by major emitters.

Su said the demands on poor nations violated international agreements that allowed them to put economic growth first, and the demands on the US were unrealistic given its clear stance on climate change.

"The Japanese have actually made no commitment because they have set an impossible precondition," he said.


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