The most authoritative articulation of China’s position is probably found in its latest submission to the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the [United Nations Framework] Convention [on Climate Change] (AWG-LCA). Filed on September 28, 2008 and bearing the cumbersome title, “China’s views on enabling the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention through long-term cooperative action now, up to and beyond 2012,” the position paper provides:
- All developed country Parties to the Convention shall commit to a reduction in GHG emissions by at least 25-40% below 1990 levels in 2020 and by approximately 80-95% in 2050.
- Nationally appropriate mitigation actions by developing country Parties shall be taken in the context of their sustainable development and, supported and enabled by technology transfer, financial assistance and capacity building to be provided by the developed country Parties.
- Technology transfer and the provisions of financial support and capacity building by developed country Parties for national mitigation actions in developing country Parties shall be measurable, reportable and verifiable, and be new and additional to ODA.
- The principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” between developed and developing countries is the keystone of the Convention and the Bali Action Plan. Any further sub-categorization of developing countries runs against the Convention itself and is not in conformity with the consensus reached in the Bali Action Plan.
And don’t think you’re going to backdoor some limits on China through a “sectoral” approach
The aim of cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions is to enhance implementation of Article 4, paragraph 1(c) of the Convention. That is, to enhance cooperation between Parties at sectoral level for the purpose of promoting development, deployment, diffusion and transfer of GHG emissions control technologies, practices and processes. Any twist of this understanding or discussion under the AWG-LCA leading to global sectoral standards, benchmarks or emission reduction targets is not acceptable.
How extensive should the technology transfers and the provisions of financial support from the developed countries be? China Daily reports that
Members of the Group of 77 developing countries and China have said funding from developed countries should equate to 1 percent of their GDP, Gao [Guangsheng, a senior official with the National Development and Reform Commission's climate change department,] said.
Remember that this is on top of commitments by the developed countries to reduce “GHG emissions by at least 25-40% below 1990 levels in 2020 and by approximately 80-95% in 2050.”
Lest there be any doubt as to where China stands, it has arranged (with the UN) the Beijing High-Level Conference on Climate Change: Technology Development and Technology Transfer to be held on November 7-8 (which reportedly will be attended by “[a]lmost 100 countries, international organizations and non-government organizations”) to “discuss current development of environmentally sound technologies, and the demand of and obstructions in the transfer of such technologies.”
At the meeting “China will propose a new mechanism to help spread green technologies worldwide.” This mechanism “will provide better protection for intellectual property, thus encouraging the development of new technologies.” (Color me skeptical). Apparently in anticipation of the holiday season, China will roll out the “detailed list of technologies” that it needs. As the show stopper, “Premier Wen Jiabao will give a keynote speech, underscoring the seriousness of China’s technology demands.”
China may be serious about its demands, but are its demands serious?