U.S. urges China to set 2050 emissions targets
Beijing — China and other developing countries should join the United States in setting mid-century targets to cut carbon emissions in the battle against global warming, the U.S. energy secretary said Wednesday.
The U.S. and China — the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases — agree that climate change is a major concern. But Beijing says developed countries have not set themselves stringent enough targets to cut greenhouse gas production and it rejects demands on developing nations, including China, to set carbon emissions limits.
In a speech to students at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu admitted that the U.S. and other developed nations were the first to emit such dangerous gases, but said the developing world was fast catching up.
If China continues on the same course without using more renewable resources the “amount of carbon China emits in the next 30 years will equal all the carbon the U.S. has emitted in the life of the country,” he said.
“We are all in this together so we have to fix it together.”
Most scientists agree that even a slight increase in average temperatures caused by greenhouse gas emissions will wreak havoc on farmers around the globe, as seasons shift, crops fail and storms and droughts ravage fields.
The U.S. has set itself targets to cut emissions by 83 percent by 2050 from 2005 levels in a landmark climate and energy bill yet to be approved by the Senate. Developing countries refused to make similar mid-century commitments during climate change discussions on the sidelines of the G-8 meeting in Italy last week.
Beijing says developed countries have been emitting greenhouse gases for far longer than China and that they should be at the forefront of efforts to cut emissions rather than putting the onus on the developing world.
Chu urged developing countries to set themselves similar targets.
“Unless they also say, ‘We need to decrease our carbon emissions by mid-century,’ then the world will be in big trouble,” Chu said of the developing nations.
“What the U.S. and China do in the coming decades will in a large part determine the fate of the world,” he said.
Chu suggested the two countries should work together to develop clean energy and fuel-efficient technology.
“It is through collaboration between the United States and China in co-developing new science and technology that will lead to new solutions,” he said.
Beijing has already said it opposes a U.S. bill that would impose tariffs on countries that do nothing to cut emissions.