BEIJING (AP) — China told the United States on Wednesday to make stronger commitments on climate change and provide environmental expertise and financing to developing nations.
At the same time, China said its own efforts to reduce energy intensity have been hampered by its economic recovery in the latter part of last year, which brought growth in heavy energy-consuming industries.
China's top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, acknowledged the current U.S. administration's greater stress on greenhouse gas reductions, but said its pledges thus far fall short of expectations.
"So we hope the United States will do more. ... We hope the United States will not shift the responsibility for taking more active action to other countries," Xie told a news conference on the sidelines of China's annual legislative session.
Xie said he understands that legislation has to work its way through the U.S. Congress and said Beijing wanted dialogue to achieve "fruitful results" at a climate change conference in Cancun, Mexico, in December.
President Barack Obama has struggled to gain passage of a bill that would commit the United States to reducing greenhouse gases by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and to paying a "fair share" into a fund to help developing countries deal with climate change.
China, the world's largest emitter of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, has said it will cut its "carbon intensity" — a measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of production — by 40 percent to 45 percent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.
Energy intensity fell 14.38 percent in the four years up to 2009, but still lagged behind a target to lower it by 20 percent in the 2006-2010 period as the economy picked up last year, according to a government report handed out at the news briefing.
"Heavy energy-consuming and heavy emission industries have been growing rapidly," the report said. "The decline of energy intensity has slowed down for the first time."
At last year's Copenhagen climate conference, many developed countries had hoped the Kyoto Protocol, which only requires emissions cuts of rich countries, would be replaced with an accord that also makes demands on developing nations.
Instead, the U.S., EU, Brazil, South Africa, India and China brokered a deal requiring poor countries to propose voluntary actions. Rich countries also vowed to provide $30 billion in emergency climate aid to poor nations in the next three years, and set a goal of eventually channeling $100 billion a year to them by 2020.
Xie said China hoped developed countries would be able to work out the sizes of their own contributions to emergency climate aid by the end of the year.