China attaches great importance to climate change and has always been a responsible player combating global warming, delegates at the 17th Party congress said, ahead of a number of international meetings addressing the problem.
Party General Secretary Hu Jintao said at the congress that all countries "should assist and cooperate with each other in conservation efforts to take good care of the Earth, our only home".
For the first time the CPC has added global environmental issues to its political report at the congress, setting out the country's top priorities in the following five years. The Party leadership has also put domestic environmental protection and energy reduction high on the agenda.
Pledging cooperation on economic, social, cultural and environmental issues, Hu called on people to join hands and strive to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.
Congress delegates hailed Hu's speech as a new expression of the country's purpose to combat global climate change.
"China should actively take on the environmental protection issue and push forward on behalf of developing countries," said Pan Yue, congress delegate and vice-minister of the State Environment Protection Administration.
He said the impact of centuries of industrial development by developed nations needs addressing and barriers for the transfer of environmental technologies should be swept away.
The vice-minister added that the current energy and production and consumption structure needs restructuring on the basis of environmental protection. He said pollution had to be cut and China would be a responsible player in terms of managing climate change.
"Environmental protection is not only a key field where China can catch up and be integrated with the international community, but also a stage where China can put forward the concepts of a harmonious world and peaceful development," Pan said, on the sidelines of the congress.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said China attaches great importance to a number of upcoming international conferences on combating climate change.
"China has always been in full compliance with the principles set out by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol," Yang said.
Under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility", all countries have an obligation to protect the world's environment. As each country is at different development stages, they share different obligations.
China, which has tens of millions of people trying to solve basic problems, has "survival emissions".
These are not in the same category as developed countries, which should take the blame for the majority of global warming because of their greenhouse gas emissions in the past 200 years, said Zheng Guoguang, director of the China Meteorological Administration (CMA).
China is best among all developing countries in terms of environmental protection, Zheng said. "We have started a national action plan and are committed to cut energy consumption even though there is no international obligation for us to do so," he said.
Zheng said China has always attached great importance to environmental issues and sent the biggest delegation to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change negotiations.
"China holds that all countries in the world should work together to address global warming, which is a foundation for our development and life," he said.
(China Daily October 22, 2007)