UN climate change summit awaits word from heavyweights US and China
China is due to unveil a new proposal at the gathering Tuesday, but its plans to cut "carbon intensity" rather than limit emissions may not satisfy US lawmakers.
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The Wall Street Journal wrote that a "carbon intensity" proposal might disappoint US lawmakers who are looking for China to make tougher commitments before they are willing to sign off on any deal that could hamper US economic growth and competitiveness.Skip to next paragraph
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That [China's carbon intensity plan] may fail to impress U.S. lawmakers, to whom activists are also looking for concessions if a substantive international agreement is to be reached by December at a conference in Copenhagen. Proposed U.S. legislation would impose caps, but manufacturers argue that will hurt them in competition with China and other developing countries.
A carbon intensity target would encourage China to burn more efficiently and rely more on cleaner alternatives, but won't limit how much coal China uses.
Bloomberg quoted one prominent US senator as saying that the key to a climate change deal was agreement between China and the US. The US Senate nixed the Kyoto Protocol and has not yet acted on climate change legislation backed by the White House and approved by the House of Representatives.
“If we and China can come to an agreement, and we in Congress will recognize that, I believe the rest of this is just going to move very, very rapidly because everybody else is going to come on board,” U.S. Senator John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat and head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said during a panel discussion in New York yesterday. “So what President Hu says tomorrow is very important.”
The Christian Science Monitor reported Monday that President Hu's speech will be a chance to debunk the notion that China isn't serious about curbing emissions.
Tuesday’s sessions represent “an opportunity to demystify what countries are doing” to deal with the climate issue, [Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change] says. “This sense that China is doing nothing is a fantasy. But you cannot get US participation in an ambitious Copenhagen outcome without that fantasy having been exposed.”