Reinfeldt targets US and China in climate message

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected]

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt on Tuesday put pressure on both the United States and China to do more to fight climate change ahead of a UN-sponsored summit on the issue set to take place in Copenhagen in December.


"My message to President Obama as well as to the (American) Senate and Congress is: we need to prioritize climate, with the two degrees (of global temperature rise) objective as our guiding principle," he said in an op-ed published in Dagens Nyheter (DN), Sweden's newspaper of reference.

Reinfeldt's comments come a month ahead of the UN Climate summit in Copenhagen and as hopes for obtaining a legally binding agreement on slashing carbon pollution at the conference are fading.

The Swedish Prime Minister, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, met with Barack Obama in Washington on Monday for a USA-EU summit that lasts until Tuesday.

He will also be travelling to China for a November 30 China-EU summit in Nanjing, at which climate, along with the global economic crisis, will be a central issue.

China is the world's biggest greenhouse gas producer, Reinfeldt said on Tuesday, urging the country to "be more ambitious, so that emissions can reach their maximum in 2020, and can then be decreased."

The Copenhagen Climate summit will start on December 7, one week after Reinfeldt's China visit. Its aim is to craft an international climate accord to replace the Kyoto protocol, which expires in 2012.

Chinese President Hu Jintao told the United Nations last month that Beijing would reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by a "notable margin" by 2020 from their 2005 levels, but did not provide a figure.

Carbon intensity is the measure of greenhouse gas that is emitted per unit of economic activity.

The EU has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels and has said it could increase the target to 30 percent if an international agreement was reached in Copenhagen.

The US Senate is currently debating a bill that calls for a 20-percent cut in US greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, but from 2005 levels.


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