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(AP) China said on Thursday that it was "firmly" opposed to provisions in a new US clean energy bill that will make it easier to impose trade penalties on nations that reject limits to globe-warming pollution.

"China is firmly opposed to such measures," vice foreign minister He Yafei told reporters in Beijing.
"We are firmly against such attempts to advance trade protectionism under the pretext of climate change. It is not conducive to world economic recovery. It serves nobody's interests."

On Friday, the US House of Representatives narrowly passed legislation to limit pollution blamed for global warming, handing President Barack Obama a hard-fought major victory.

Lawmakers voted for the first time in US history to limit heat-trapping carbon emissions and shift the US economy to cleaner energy.
However, after the House of Representatives passed the legislation, Obama said he did not want the bill to be used to impose trade penalties on countries in the interest of curbing global warming, The New York Times reported.

The newspaper said Obama had told reporters at the White House that at a time when the global economy is still deep in recession, he thought "we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals out there." The US Senate has still to vote on the energy bill.

China has shown increasing concern in recent years about the consequences of global warming. But as part of ongoing global negotiations to replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012, China has said the bulk of the responsibility for emissions cuts lies with developed nations.

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