Britain will not sign a global deal on climate change unless it includes commitments from China and India on reducing emissions, the energy and climate change secretary said on the eve of visiting the two countries.
China is the world’s highest emitter of greenhouse gases and India the third. Neither has agreed any cap on emissions. In an interview with The Times, Ed Davey said that there was little point in Britain making great efforts to cut emissions if other countries did not. “If I looked around the world and no one was doing anything I would have to ask myself the question: is it worth us doing anything if no one else is?” he said.
Speaking before meetings in Beijing and Delhi this week to discuss contributions to a global climate deal due to be signed in Paris next year, Mr Davey said: “We won’t do a deal unless these countries come on board. We need a deal that’s applicable to all — that’s what we didn’t get at Kyoto [the 1997 conference in Japan at which binding targets were set for the emissions of industrialised nations].” Mr Davey said that developing countries should be allowed to carry on increasing their emissions for a few years but at a lower rate and with clear targets for when the level should peak and start declining.
“We expect the rich, developed countries to cut aggressively, emerging economies to peak and then decline and the developing countries and the poorest to increase but hopefully at low rates and have a more sustainable development model than we had.”
On China, he said: “The key for them and the world is when they will peak. The earlier the better. I would like it to be 2025 or earlier. If the Chinese were to say ‘we are not going to commit to a peaking point’, I’m not sure you would get a deal.”