Obama calls for China, India action on climate
CANBERRA: US president Barack Obama on Wednesday said he would be pushing for greater efforts by the emerging economies on global warming at coming climate talks in South Africa, which he warned would be a “tough slog”.
Obama described Australia’s carbon tax, passed into law last week, as a “bold strategy” to tackle pollution and said he would be advocating that countries like China and India take greater responsibility at Durban.
“The advanced economies can’t do this alone, and I will continue to insist on this when we go to Durban, is that if we are taking a series of steps then it’s important that emerging economies like China and India are also part of the bargain,” he said.
“It doesn’t mean that they have to do exactly what we do, we understand that in terms of per capita carbon emissions they’ve got a long way to go before they catch up to us, but it does mean that they’ve got to take seriously their responsibilities as well,” he told reporters on a trip to Australia.
High-level climate talks, due to start in Durban on November 28 under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, are being called a make-or-break meeting for legally binding carbon emission reduction targets.
“Ultimately what we want is a mechanism whereby all countries are making an effort and it’s going to be a tough slog, particularly at a time when a lot of economies are still struggling, but I think it’s actually one that in the long-term can be beneficial,” Obama said.
UNFCCC negotiations have made little progress since the stormy Copenhagen Summit of December 2009, which skirted disaster as leaders squabbled over how to share out cuts in carbon emissions.
“As we go forward over the next several years my hope is that the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions,” Obama said.
“I think that’s good for the world. I actually think over the long-term it’s good for our economies as well.”
China and fellow major developing countries Brazil, India and South Africa in August issued a joint call for the Durban talks to extend the Kyoto Protocol, which the United States is the only major nation to have rejected.