India and China have told the United Nations a climate change agreement that slows down their economic growth and locks them into poverty is unacceptable to them.
The UN's climate change boss said on Monday the two Asian giants have taken a series of "ambitious" domestic actions to combat climate change but want to draw the line at anything that would upset their economic growth strategies.
"Both of those countries are increasingly taking action - at home - not waiting for an agreement," said Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
India and China are among 190 countries that are trying to agree a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by the end of the year in Copenhagen.
The protocol, which runs out in 2012, lays down the percentages by which countries have to reduce (from a 1990 base) their emissions of greenhouse gases that are leading to climate change. These gases are common by-products of industrial activity.
But major developing countries are excluded from binding commitments under the 'polluter pays' principle, according to which countries that are chiefly responsible for causing climate change - the rich industrialised countries - must set an example for the rest of the world.
De Boer said India and China are "participating very constructively in these negotiations, while at the same time pointing out that their overriding concern is economic growth and poverty eradication and that any climate change agreement that's adopted in Copenhagen must be in line with that dual role.
"That's why for me this whole notion of clean growth is so important," de Boer told reporters.
"A climate change response that strangles world economic growth and locks countries into poverty is not the way we need to be moving forward."
De Boer said India and China had implemented steps - "if only out of self-interest" - to tackle the impact of climate change in the areas of food and water security.
"And that was translated in the case of India and China into ambitious national strategies to tackle climate change, both mitigation and to limit the growth of emissions."
He said green growth, including climate-friendly activities, are at the core of China's economic recovery strategy.
"China is already the leading investor worldwide into renewable sources of energy. China has a huge ambition in terms of industrial energy efficiency improvements in terms of creating sustainable cities," he added.