Fiona Harvey The US climate envoy in Copenhagen says no money for China

Todd Stern lived up to his name today when he arrived at the Copenhagen climate summit.

The first engagement for the  US special envoy for climate change, as soon as he stepped off the plane, was a press conference. He lost no time in taking a swing at China.

Mr Stern made it abundantly clear that the US did not believe China should receive aid to help it cut emissions, and that US taxpayers’ money would certainly not be forthcoming for the purpose.

“I do not envision public funds, certainly not from the US, going to China. We would intend to direct our public funds to the neediest countries,” he said.

He said China was wealthy enough to fund its own efforts.

China has been one of the developing economies that has campaigned most vociferously for financial assistance in cutting emissions and dealing with the effects of climate change.

China has also been the biggest beneficiary of the United Nations’ carbon trading system, the clean development mechanism, to the tune of at least $1bn and probably considerably more.

And China has also become the cheap manufacturing location of choice for scores of clean energy companies.

As well as refusing to send US taxpayers’ money to Beijing, Mr Stern was scathing about claims from developing countries – China included – that the rich world should pay “reparations” for their emissions since the industrial revolution.

He pointed out that developing countries would be the source of nearly all the growth in emissions from now on.

He called on China to deepen its emissions cuts.

China called on the US to up its emissions-cutting targets, too.