Environmental News Archive

An almost weekly update of environmental news, particularly marine updates, with occasional splatters of transportation, indigenous, ideas of sustainability and sustainable development from around the world.


China's Sticking To Coal

7 Feb 2007 (TODAY)

Global warming taking hold but it can't switch to cleaner fuels

BEIJING - As Beijing experiences its warmest February on record, which has
led to an early blossoming of trees, the Asian giant's first response to a
recent United Nations report on climate change was not positive - it said
yesterday it had no plans to radically change its reliance on coal.

China, which depends on coal for 70 per cent of its energy needs, is the
second-largest emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases behind the
United States. It is on track to become the world's biggest polluter in
coming years.

China yesterday insisted the responsibility for global warming rested with
developed countries.

"You need to point out that climate changes are the result of the
long-term emissions of the developed countries and the high per-capita
emissions of the developed countries," said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman J
iang Yu.

"Currently the developed countries should make an example in shouldering
the responsibility in reducing their emission in accordance with the Kyoto

The US and Australia are the only two developed nations not to have signed
the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, a UN pact that commits signatories to cutting
back their emissions of six greenhouse gases. Industrialised countries
face tougher restrictions than developing nations like China.

Last week, a UN report blamed human activities for global warming. It
warned that the Earth's average surface temperatures could rise by as much
as 6.4 degrees Celsius by 2100, amid a corresponding rise in typhoons and
other natural disasters.

In another Chinese response to the report, the head of the China
Meteorological Association said yesterday the nation lacked the technology
and money for a wholesale conversion to cleaner energy sources than coal.

"There are several restraints here," said Mr Qin Dahe, who was also one of
the authors of the UN report. "The first is technology ... the second is
funding. We can try, but replacing 70 per cent of China's energy
consumption really takes a lot of money."

Mr Qin's comments came as temperatures rose in Beijing to levels not seen
for at least 167 years, with the mercury hitting 16 degrees Celsius on
Monday. Average highs during this time of the year hover just below
freezing. - AFP