This article argues that China prevented a strong deal being reached at the Copenhagen conference. It seems to me that the Chinese government prioritises economic growth over all other factors - and so is not prepared to cut China's carbon emissions in case this hinders economic growth. However, it is harsh to single out China for taking this economically-centred view, lots of people in other countries take this view as well. Perhaps it is inevitable that humans will have short time horizons and so be worried about falling potential economic growth over the next few years/decades rather than long-term issues to do with the environment and global warming.
Arguably, China has more justification to take this view than people in the developed world. After all, China has a lower standard of living than Western Europe or North America. As such, an extra dollar of output means more to the average Chinese than to the average inhabitant of the developed world. Also, of course, China can say that - although it may have become the largest polluter recently - historically it has been Europe and the Americans who have contributed to the lion's share of human CO2 emissions. They would therefore argue that it is those who started the pollution first who should make the biggest and firmest cuts. Of course, while this dispute takes place, the environmental situation is not helped. China, as well as other developing countries, will probably be amongst the first to suffer if weather patterns are disrupted and if floods take place. Much of China's most productive land is low-lying and it needs good weather and good harvests to feed its people.