Positive signs seen on climate pact

Pan Jiahua, an influential Chinese climate-change expert, and Robert Owen-Jones, Australia’s top climate negotiator, say they’ve seen positive signs that a broader pact between rich and poor nations to fight global warming can be forged, Reuters reported. But the “wasteful and luxurious” lifestyles of rich nations could yet alienate poorer nations, Pan told a climate forum in Canberra.


Delegates from nearly 200 countries are seeking to agree — by December in Copenhagen — on post-2012 curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions. A key aim is to find a formula that leads developing nations such as China and India to sign up to emissions limits. However, they want to see developed countries like the United States and Australia set an example by reducing their energy use first.


“Like in the United States, there is huge waste of energy here,” said Pan, a professor affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “I think that China must say [in Copenhagen] the Australians could do a little bit more.” He added: “The more you take actions to reduce, the deeper cuts you are willing to do … the Chinese may be more likely to engage in exchange.”


Owen-Jones said he was optimistic because the new administration of Barack Obama in the United States had helped to re-energise the ongoing climate discussions. “There’s a new tone, partly because the United States came back in reinvigorated,” he said.


The Canberra forum was held as Australia’s centre-left government began sparring with Green rivals over its plan to cut carbon emissions between 5% and 15% by 2020; the Greens demand much deeper reductions.


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