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Capping emissions?

James Reynolds | 11:55 UK time, Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Staying on the subject of air ...

Climate change is in the news. The G8 has set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050.

China's not in the G8 - so it's not bound by this pledge.

Vehicles drive on a street which is shrouded with smog on July 8, 2008 in Beijing.But here's the point - recent studies show that China may now be the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases. So, for any climate change deal to work in the long-term, the subject of China and its carbon emissions will have to be addressed.

So, what's this country doing at the moment?

In 2007, China released a National Climate Change Programme. Under the terms of this plan, the government promised to improve energy efficiency by 20%, and to increase to 10% the amount of energy it gets from renewable sources (at the moment it gets most of its energy from coal.)

China says that its objectives also include "To make achievements in controlling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions." But, significantly, it doesn't set a cap on its emissions.

I want to list the three main arguments that China uses to support its non-capping position:

1) The West caused it - the West should fix it

In its National Climate Change Programme, China says this: "Climate change is mainly caused by the massive GHG emissions originated in developed countries since indust

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