West told to stop blaming developing countries for pollution

UPDATED: 16:02, June 25, 2007

The West should stop the hypocritical blame game and work collectively with developing countries to fix the global warming problems, Asian panellists said Monday at a session on sustainable growth on the second day of the World Economic Forum on East Asia.

Commenting on a recent Dutch government-funded study that showed that China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's biggest polluter producing the highest level of carbon dioxide emissions in 2006, Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Malaysia's Second Minister of Finance, said that singling out China was pointless. "It's wrong, there should not be hypocrisy," he added.

Yakcop pointed out that factories in China contributing to the pollution are mostly owned by American and European multinational companies (MNCs) that are benefiting from China's cheap labor resources.

China and other developing countries have little choice but to continue to welcome foreign investments, he said.

"We can't slow down because we've got plenty of poverty," the Malaysian minister said, adding "The growth momentum has to be kept up; sustainable growth emphasis must be growth."

Also speaking in the panel discussion, Chen Feng, chairman of China Hainan Airlines, recalled watching a television documentary on the destruction of Beijing's imperial garden Yuanmingyuan by fire 146 years ago when Anglo-French forces stormed the building. Denouncing them as "bandits" for their role in the destruction, Chen said he supports the need for collective global action in tackling the serious environmental problem.

Masatoshi Wakabayashi, Minister of the Environment of Japan, said there is a need for a new global mechanism to achieve the G8 objective of reducing greenhouse emissions by half in 2050.

He believed that the initiative of the U.S., announced ahead of the recent Heiligendamm summit, to call a meeting of major gas- emitting countries, was a "very significant" step forward in the global effort on environmental protection.

The two-day forum, under the theme "The Leadership Imperative for an Asian Century", has brought together over 300 business, government and civil society leaders from 26 countries to discuss the current challenges facing East Asia. Through the program pillars Asian Leadership, Risk Management, Sustainable Growth and Competitiveness the participants will identify the leadership opportunities and challenges that will shape an "Asian Century."

Source: Xinhua

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