US environmentalists have called on China and the United States, the world's top emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), to work together on mitigating climate change.
During her recent visit to China, Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a US environmental non-governmental organization, said China's efforts to meet energy-saving targets not only helped the country improve its environment, but also demonstrated its willingness to work with other countries to solve a global problem.
China is striving to cut its energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent and its pollution emissions by 10 percent during the five-year period from 2006 to 2010. Meanwhile, the country is also trying to increase its use of renewable energy by 10 percent during the period.
"The Chinese government completed and released the National Climate Change Assessment Report at the end of last year," she said. "And the country is said to be preparing to make public its national action plan to combat global warming. The moves are really impressive."
She said the United States, the world's top emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2), one of the major GHGs causing climate change, had a responsibility to deal with rising temperatures. Though the Bush government withdrew the United States from the Kyoto Protocol, the key international agreement on curbing GHGs, American NGOs have led a sustained effort to cut emissions.
She said that although China's per-capita carbon emissions are lower than the global average, the International Energy Agency estimates that China will overtake the United States in terms of carbon emissions by 2009.
Faced with such a situation, both China and the United States must accept their responsibility to protect the Earth. Close cooperation between the two countries in this area is key, she said.
Beinecke said helping China improve energy efficiency and develop clean energy are the NRDC's top priorities in the next decade.
The organization has carried out clean energy projects in China for years, said Barbara Finamore, director of the China Program. Constructing green buildings, developing clean power and promoting sustainable transportation are some of the group's projects.
(China Daily May 18, 2007)