The Chinese government wants developed countries to foot the bill for poorer nations dealing with the effects of climate change.
That was the message in China's March 6 submission to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world's most important treaty governing response to anthropogenic global warming.
The Chinese proposal calls for developed countries to contribute $490 billion through 2020 to a UN administered fund based in Songdo, Korea, according to Bloomberg. The funds would be made available to less developed countries coping with climate change-related disasters such as flooding, drought and rising seas.
That gargantuan amount translates to around 1 percent of each developed country's annual gross domestic product. Under the proposed scheme, developed countries would contribute $40 billion in 2014, eventually topping out at $100 billion in 2020.
Developed countries should pay into the fund because they are "responsible for the current and future concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere because of their historical, current and future emissions," the Chinese delegation wrote in the report. "Developing countries have the right to equitable development opportunities and sustainable development." (The UN classifies China as a developing country.)
The Chinese proposal — a submission to a committee created at the Durban conference in 2011 to establish new rules around carbon emissions — has met an icy reception from developed countries. The United States said it will not accept a "bifurcated" approach to carbon reduction and mitigation. (China is currently the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases.)
The proposal comes in the wake of President Obama's February pledge to establish a similar "climate resilience fund" in the 2015 U.S. federal budget. The fund would "help coastal areas and other regions prepare for severe storms, drought and other weather events that could be intensified by climate change," according to Bloomberg.
China Proposes $490 Billion Fund from Countries "Responsible" for Climate Change