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China Urges Deeper CO2 Cuts From Developed World

China recently overtook the United States as the world's largest greenhouse-gas emitter.
BEIJING (Reuters) -- China called on rich nations to sign up to carbon emission cuts of 25-40 percent by 2020, an official with China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has said.

The official also said China, the world's top emitter of planet-warming greenhouse gases, wanted to commit to emissions reductions in certain industries but was still figuring out how to do this.

"The success of Copenhagen needs strengthened and deeper cuts and more aggressive targets from developed countries," said Li Liyan, deputy head of the Climate Change Office of the NDRC, China's chief economic planning agency.

Delegates from about 200 nations meet in the Danish capital Copenhagen at the end of the year to try to agree on a broader climate pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol, whose first phase ends in 2012.

Developing nations want rich countries to sign up to deeper emissions cuts than under Kyoto and also want pledges of greater funding to help poorer nations adapt to climate change and pay for clean-energy technology to help them move to lower-carbon economies.

Li said China was committed to a "sectoral approach" to any reform of the UN's Clean Development Mechanism, meaning a mechanism aimed at reducing emissions through the involvement of entire industries.

Asked by Reuters if that meant China would commit to specific reduction targets from certain industries, she said "we want to, we just don't know how to do it yet."

The CDM allows rich nations to invest in wind power, solar, biomass and other clean-energy projects in poorer nations and earn tradeable U.N.-backed carbon credits in return.

China has been the most successful nation in the CDM, producing more than 40 percent of the UN credits.

"At the beginning, we were suspicious of the CDM because it seems too complicated and we didn't have confidence but it seems to have worked.

"It could be one of the instruments to deal with climate change but it's not the cure-all."

China was also proposing to establish a specific financing mechanism for technology transfers, Li told a conference in Beijing.

She called for institutional arrangements to transfer clean-energy technology and pay for a climate change adaptation fund for poorer nations.

The UN Climate Panel says that to limit global mean temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius, global emissions have to be reduced by 50-85 percent from 2000 to 2050 and to peak no later than 2015.

To keep temperatures in check, developed countries as a group must reduce their emissions by 25-40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.