China says it opposes the United States' position that developing nations should also commit to binding emissions cuts at the Copenhagen climate talks.
China is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases, which many scientists say contribute to global warming.
|Cars fill road in center of Beijing on smoggy day, 04 Aug 2008|
However, Beijing has maintained that it is a developing country and should not be subject to mandatory carbon emissions cuts.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu emphasized this position, Thursday.
Ma says China believes that developed countries have what he called "the historical responsibility on climate change." He says therefore, developed countries should, in his words, "take the lead in the reduction of emissions" and help developing countries by providing capital and technology and building capacity.
Ma says his country has a "very serious" attitude toward climate change.
He says President Hu Jintao recently spoke at the United Nations climate change summit and pledged reductions in China's per capita carbon emissions and increases in forest coverage.
The Chinese spokesman's comments come in response to U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern, who on Wednesday appeared before the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington. Stern said the United State will not agree to targets on cutting emissions unless developing countries, especially China, make similar moves.
Members of the U.S. Congress are debating a bill aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
The developed-developing nation divide over carbon cuts has been playing out in Barcelona, where negotiators are conferring for the last time before a global climate change meeting next month in Copenhagen.
On Tuesday, a bloc of African countries boycotted the Barcelona talks and accused rich nations of backsliding on promises to curb carbon emissions.