Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Climate change: A step in the right direction

The UN General Assembly is meeting in New York at the moment, and on the first day, Chinese President Hu Jintao committed to reducing his country's emissions intensity:

"We will endeavor to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level," Hu told a special summit on climate change.
There doesn't sound like much, and intensity targets are a false goal - but coming from a country which has until recently rejected any suggestion of curbing its emissions growth, its a definite step in the right direction. While the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities gives a lot of leeway for developing countries, eventually they too will have to commit to binding caps on emissions - and an intensity target is a good interim measure to get them there.