If you are an American you heard this right: Mexico will go to work on cleaning up its factories that produce tons of pollution if you pay. But this won’t happen soon…
To improve the quality of the environment, China, Russia and everyone else have offered to limit the industries of the U.S., Japan and Canada — and give them the bill to pay “emerging economies” to have cleaner industries….
Developing countries upbraided rich nations at U.N. climate talks Thursday, saying they were refusing to act boldly enough to stop global warming. Mexico sought to prod others into action by becoming the first developing country to announce a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.
As 145 environment ministers and other leaders gathered for the final phase of the two-week talks, delegates from poor countries made emotional pleas to rich countries to take the lead in cutting the heat-trapping gases that their factories have pumped into the air since the Industrial Revolution.
By VANESSA GERA, Associated Press Writer
Former U.S. vice president Al Gore, right, receives an Honorary Doctorate from Professor Bronislaw Marciniak, left, at the Poznan University, Poland, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. Gore is in Poland to participate in the UN climate change conference in Poznan where more than 10, 000 delegates from 186 governments, businesses and environmental groups meet to agree on a new climate treaty in Copenhagen at the end of 2009 to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Countries like the United States, Canada and Japan have resisted deep emissions cuts without similar sacrifice from the developing world. They argue that unilateral action on their part would harm their economies, and would not solve the crisis if industrializing countries like China and India keep spewing out ever more carbon dioxide.
The attitude of the rich countries “borders on the immoral and is counterproductive,” said John Ashe, Antigua’s ambassador to the U.N., speaking on behalf of 130 developing countries plus China.
Above: Mexico City sparkles on a rare clear evening conceded that “our negotiations are by far not progressing fast enough. We are not making any progress on crucial issues.”
German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel
“If industrialized countries carry on playing games with words in an attempt to shirk their responsibilities, we will become a laughing stock,” Gabriel said.
To spur global collective action, Mexico’s environment secretary, Juan Rafael Elvira, announced his country’s plan to cut 2002 greenhouse gas emission levels by 50 percent by 2050. Still, he said Mexico’s goal of using solar power, wind and other clean technologies could only be reached with financial and technological help from wealthier nations.
The Mexican plan includes establishing a cap-and-trade system that would set emissions limits on certain sectors, such as cement, electricity and oil refining, which account for the vast majority of its emissions. Companies that reduce their emissions below those limits could sell their unused allowances on the international carbon market.
The move makes Mexico the only developing country to set a voluntary national target below current levels, said Antonio Hill, senior policy adviser for Oxfam. South Korea has said it would announce an emissions cap next year, and South Africa has a detailed plan to peak emissions in 2025.
Tourists walk through heavy fog over Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 2007. China warned its heavy dependence on coal to fuel its fast-growing economy made it difficult to control greenhouse gas emissions, but said fighting global warming remained imperative.(AFP/File/Teh Eng Koon)
“It’s a very significant step because a major emerging economy is saying that it will put a limit on its emissions for key sectors which account for the majority of its emissions,” said Jake Schmidt, international climate policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Officials at the talks in Poland are working on a new worldwide treaty to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It is supposed to be concluded next December in Copenhagen, Denmark, and would replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
Environmentalists have also sharply criticized the rich countries, saying they have done too little to battle global warming. But many developing countries, including Brazil, China, South Africa, and now Mexico, have won praise for taking strong steps in fighting climate change.
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