[Yesterday] morning, a Chinese climate adviser announced that the country was going to limit its carbon dioxide emissions. Now he has backed down and says: “That was just my personal opinion. What I have said does not represent the view of the Chinese government.”
Was this really just a gaffe? Earlier in the day, He Jiankun, a Chinese climate adviser announced that the People’s Republic of China would cap its carbon emissions. That was a powerful statement, at least it was perceived as such – not least because the American president also announced that he was more determined than ever to mobilise against carbon dioxide emissions.
But China is already backing down. “What I have said today was my personal opinion,” He told the Reuters news agency in Beijing. His statements from the morning session were intended only for “academic studies”. “What I have said does not represent the view of the Chinese government or of any organisation,” he clarified .
At a [green energy] conference He had earlier said the world’s largest CO2 producer would, for the first time, cap its greenhouse gas emissions to a specified upper limit. This, he claimed, would be firmly anchored in China’s upcoming five-year plan that will come into force in 2016. Coming soon after the announcement of new measures by the U.S. government the day before, this announcement had raised hopes of an international breakthrough in the fight against global climate change. What now?