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China Firm on Climate Change Policy Ahead of International Negotiations


China, one of the world's top polluters, has again said that developed nations should help it, and other developing economies, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Chinese officials say they will have trouble cutting the country's use of polluting coal without cash and technology from rich countries. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

A new policy paper released Wednesday repeats China's stance that developed nations did the most damage to the planet historically so should therefore shoulder the most responsibility.

It says rich countries should transfer high-technology equipment for reducing greenhouse gases to developing nations.

The paper acknowledges that China's reliance on coal for energy makes it hard for the country to reduce emissions. China's use of cheap, and heavily polluting, coal has helped power dramatic economic growth over three decades. But the result has been badly polluted air and water, and China now rivals the United States as the top emitter of greenhouse gases.

Xie Zhenhua is a deputy chief of China's Development and Reform Commission, its main planning body. He says China is increasing its clean energy supply to reduce emissions, but the cost is high.

He says China's renewable energy now equals only eight-point-three percent of its non-renewable energy. He says by 2010 that proportion will reach 10 percent and by 2020 it will reach 15 percent. He says to realize these goals China will need to invest more than 290 billion dollars.

Chinese officials say that to reduce those costs, developed economies should give at least seven-tenths of one percent of their gross domestic product to help poor countries fight global warming.

China aims to reduce emissions by improving energy efficiency by 20 percent by 2010, but has struggled against the increasing demand for power.

Gases such as carbon dioxide released from burning coal and other fossil fuels are thought to be the major cause of climate change.

China is hosting an international conference with the United Nations in November on transferring "green" technology and climate change.

Negotiations to the U.N.-sponsored Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions are to resume in December.

The United States and European Union want developing countries like China to commit to emission caps. But, those countries argue a ceiling would stifle poverty reduction efforts.

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