In China’s first national plan on climate change, it says its first and overriding priority in tackling climate change is to maintain economic development.

The report says that China will cut greenhouse gas emissions by using more wind, nuclear and hydro power, and by making coal-fired plants more efficient.

The plan has been released as China’s President Hu Jintao prepares to attend the G8 meeting. “The first and overriding priorities of developing countries are sustainable development and poverty eradication,” says the Chinese plan. “China will continue to actively tackle climate change issues in accordance with its national sustainable development strategy in the future.”

In explaining the plan, the chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Ma Kai, said rich counties who have already industrialised would instead have to do more to tackle climate change.

Mr Ma said they were responsible for most of the greenhouse gases produced over the past century and had the money to tack the problem. Mandatory emission caps “would hinder the development of developing countries and hamper their industrialisation”, he added.