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Source says U.S. is looking to China, India for help in Bali to blunt emissions curbs

Nations are maneuvering this week at climate conference in Indonesia.

By / December 6, 2007

United Nations conferences on the environment à la various "Earth Summits," serve two fundamental purposes: They give nations, collectively, a chance to outline and set goals for progress. The results are usually general – critics might say weak – since they're arrived at by consensus.

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Such conferences also give nations, individually, a chance to promote their own points of view and to form alliances to work around (and sometimes try to change) the general goals.

The climate-change conference of some 190 countries taking place this week in Bali, Indonesia, is no exception.

It's probably not a coincidence that Germany announced this week its legislative plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by about 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, an article in this paper reported. This move directly addresses the country's main challenge regarding global warming and greenhouse gases. A Reuters report continues:

"Germany's CO2 reduction has stagnated since the mid-'90s. Most of its 18 percent cut to date since 1990 is due mainly to the collapse of the heavily polluting Communist East German industry that disappeared after unification."

Meanwhile, China, which is passing the United States as the world's largest greenhouse-gas emitter, is touting its plans to build eight biomass plants in leading grain-producing provinces in hopes of cutting carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. Another Reuters story spells out the significance:

"The plants have a total installed capacity of 200 megawatts and are expected to burn 1.6 million tons of stalks a year. 'Compared with coal-fired power plants, these biomass projects are expected to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 800,000 tons annually,' Xinhua news agency quoted Cui Mengshan of the National Bio Energy Company as saying."

Despite these signs of greening, China, like the United States, is resisting mandatory greenhouse-gas reductions imposed by international agreement, according to a report from the Bloomberg news service:

" 'Third-world countries should not be forced to accept any mandatory measures,' Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said recently.... 'It's a game of hide and seek now,' said Lo Sze Ping, campaign director of Greenpeace China. 'The US is trying to hide behind China, and China istrying to hide behind the US. This kind of attitude is not going to help us avoid disastrous climate change.' "