November 22, 2007 (AFP) – China will seek to increase cooperation with Asian nations on climate change and will try to freeze its key pollution emissions at 2005 levels, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Wednesday.Wen said he would propose an international climate change forum in China next year to improve the region’s ability to address global warming.
“China in the next five years will be determined to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent (per unit of GDP) to reduce carbon emissions and will strive to keep carbon emissions at 2005 levels,” Wen told journalists.
“China is earnestly addressing climate change because this is an issue facing mankind,” the premier said on the sidelines of a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and its six dialogue partners.
Later, Wen told the meeting that developed nations had to shoulder a greater burden in tackling global warming, as they have in the past been the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, the China News Service reported.
“Climate change is basically a problem of development,” Wen was quoted as saying, explaining that the two choices were to abandon development and save the environment, or “ignore climate change and blindly pursue economic growth: — neither of them viable.
He urged rich nations to continue to take the lead on reducing greenhouse gases and implement policies that will make new environmental technologies more affordable to developing nations.
“To address climate change efforts, we must advance, not hinder, economic development and poverty reduction, especially in developing nations,” Wen said.
The United Nations’ International Framework on Climate Change should form the legal basis for world efforts to curb global warming, he added.
China is set to overtake the United States as the world’s biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases which cause global warming.
Its booming growth has ravaged the environment, with about 70 percent of its waterways polluted and urban air quality among the worst in the world.
On Monday, Wen admitted that China was falling behind in its ambitious goals to improve energy efficiency and cut pollution, adding that the targets will be difficult to reach.