The three day World Economic Forum's Asian meeting has been opened by premier Wen Jiabao in Tianjin, south of the capital, Beijing. Over one thousand delegates will discuss resource limits, the role of Asia's soft power, and the Korean peninsula.
Presenter: Karon Snowdon
Speaker: Peter Sheehan, director, Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University
SNOWDON: The premier, who gives the opening speech at the forum each year, also takes a leading role in China's climate change policies.
Ahead of the forum he's been given a range of advice.
The founder and chairman of the forum, Klaus Schwab, urged China to reduce its excessive reliance on coal and other fossil fuels and to increase nuclear power.
Wu Changhua, China director of the London Based non-government, Climate Group, said China should have clearer legislation and a full blown carbon trading scheme.
But Peter Sheehan, the director of the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies at Victoria University says it would be premature for China to move into an international emission trading scheme.
SHEEHAN: China is addressing a large number of policy issues about this and I think taking it seriously, but I think an emissions trading policy is some years down the track for them. It's really important to remember that China is still a developing country - its GDP per capita is only about 15 per cent of the US and it doesn't have a lot of the institutions, the data and so forth that's required. It's trying to get those and it's trying to develop a lot of other policies. There are a lot more down to earth and immediately effective things that it can do.
SNOWDON: The forum is the Asian version of the World Economic forum held each year in Davos - its theme this year is an unsurprising 'Driving Growth Through Sustainability'.
It's expected to focus on increasing energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and developing green technology.
In an early salvo, the National Development and Reform Commission - the major body in China working on climate change - criticised rich nations.
Su Wei, the head of the commission's climate change office, said they still expected countries like China and India to commit to large cuts in emissions.
He was critical, too, of what he says is their emphasis on market mechanisms to supply funds and transfer climate change new technology.
Tianjiin will be the focus again next month. It's the city where negotiators will meet in October ahead of the December meeting in Mexico that is meant to finalise the global climate change talks which failed in Copenhagen last year.
Peter Sheehan says the divisions between rich and developing countries will still be evident, but that China is making progress to cut its emissions.
SHEEHAN: For example, it's trying to work with companies to reduce their levels of energy use, close down a large number of very inefficient coal mines, it's trying to develop all sorts of renewable technologies. So, there's a great flurry of activities and I think this is the most important game.
SNOWDON: What's your view of the meetings later this year to find a replacement agreement for the Kyoto Protocol? What are the chances of the world arriving at an agreement when China and the US are still at loggerheads over who should do what?
SHEEHAN: Well, my view of the Copenhagen meeting is that it really demonstrates that the world isn't going to see a single binding agreement that all countries sign that addresses this problem. And I think it's good that we realise that. I think we're going to have to have a sort of 'learning by doing' approach, a series of agreements as countries learn how to do it. The dream, as it were, of a single uniform agreement covering everybody - I think that's a misinformed dream. We're into the actual reality doing it now.