Five days of talks aimed at bringing China and the United States closer together on the issue of climate change did not yield substantial progress, according to a Congressional delegation that met with environmental officials and the country’s top leaders this week.
During a news conference on Thursday night, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of House, said she was “hopeful” after meeting with a number of officials, including President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
But Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican who took part, said he was discouraged by the Chinese refusal to commit to greater cuts in greenhouse gases while insisting that developed nations do more to reduce their emissions.
“It’s business as usual for China,” said Mr. Sensenbrenner, the ranking Republican on the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming. “The message that I received was that China was going to do it their way regardless of what the rest of the world negotiates in Copenhagen.”
He was referring to the United Nations summit on climate change to be held in Denmark this year, the successor to the meeting in Kyoto, Japan, which produced the last global warming agreement in 1997. In previous statements, China has suggested that developed nations reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2020 from 1995 levels. By contrast, Mr. Sensenbrenner said, Chinese officials have linked their proposed reductions to the size of China’s economy, which is growing significantly. The resulting math, he said, would mean “a significant increase in emissions in China.”
China and the United States are responsible for nearly half the world’s output of carbon gases, although many scientists say the Chinese share is larger and growing at a rapid pace due to its reliance on coal-fired power plants.