Great Leap Forward
In the second move in recent weeks suggesting a heightened commitment to the environment, China called yesterday for early passage of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, saying the treaty would benefit rich and poor countries alike. The appeal was made during a meeting of European and Asian environmental ministers, who want to move ahead with Kyoto despite the withdrawal of the U.S. The treaty would require industrialized nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 5 percent of 1990 levels by late 2012, while setting no goals for developing nations. However, Xie Zhenhua, director of the State Environmental Protection Agency, said his country would “actively explore” deals with industrialized countries to reduce emissions within China, which contributes about 11 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Earlier this month, Xie announced that China would double funding to clean up its air pollution over the next five years.