Europe Presses China for Details on its Emissions Plan

World

Europe insists that China should elaborate on how it will implement its greenhouse gas limits and offer further proposals commensurate with its status as the world's largest emitter.

China promised Thursday to nearly halve the ratio of pollution to GDP over the next decade — a major voluntary step that came a day after President Barack Obama promised the U.S. would lay out plans at this month's global warming conference in Copenhagen to substantially cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.

China's plan does not commit it to an overall reduction in emissions, which will continue to increase, though at a slower rate.

Following a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said the Europeans wanted to analyze the figures and find out precisely what measures Beijing plans to put into place and "how it will differ from their business as usual pathway in regards to emissions."

Reinfeldt credited China with pursuing renewable energy and nuclear power as a substitute for coal-burning plants that spew carbon. However, China's status as a major source of increase in global emissions means requires Beijing to do more, Reinfeldt said, citing a continuing rise in global temperatures.

Scientists believe a 2-degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) increase in global temperatures from pre-industrial levels would lead to destructively rising seas and climate shifts that would produce droughts, floods and other severe disruptions.

The announcements by Beijing and Washington add significant weight toward achieving a global agreement, though the Dec. 7-18 Copenhagen conference is unlikely to produce a binding deal as hoped, according to the Associated Press' report.