China's down-to-earth and action-oriented approach to battle climate change will guide the country on a new path of industrialization featuring low consumption and low emission, officials and experts say, dismissing suggestions that the country is a "threat" to the global environment.
"The basic thrust of all our policies is to adapt to climate change within the framework of sustainable development," said Chen Ying, a senior research fellow with the Research Center for Sustainable Development, affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The government has set a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent and emissions of major pollutants by 10 percent between 2005 and 2010.
The targets have been incorporated in the National Climate Change Program, the first of its kind in developing countries, which was released on Monday on the eve of President Hu Jintao's visit to Germany to attend the G8 Summit.
The summit will address climate change among other major issues.
The program is also in consonance with a series of historic and recent efforts made by China, including the establishment of coordination units and active involvement in the Clean Development Mechanism, a carbon credit trading system under the Kyoto Protocol.
Chen said the target is a practical approach for China. "The cap-and-trade model under the Kyoto Protocol is not easily acceptable to developing countries at present," she added.
Liu Deshun, a professor at the Climate Change Institute of Tsinghua University, said that climate change presents opportunities to China so that it can avoid mistakes made by industrialized nations.
Ma Kai, minister of the National Development and Regulation Commission, said earlier that China would resort to more legislative and economic means to address climate change.
He also contended that it is unfair to say China poses a threat to the global environment because the country's average and cumulative emissions both are low.
Also, according to the International Energy Agency, China's emission intensity fell by 49.5 percent in 2004 over the 1990 level, a much sharper drop than the world average decrease of 12.6 percent.
It is also notable that China, as a big exporter of finished goods, meets much of the global demand for high energy-consuming goods and therefore generates a greater amount of emissions, Ma said.
"Can we achieve the target? Let's wait and see in 2010," he said.
Though there is no agreement on a post-Kyoto Protocol treaty, many countries including the United States, Germany and Japan have put forward different proposals of their own. Despite differences, the international community is in agreement 2009 must be the deadline for a new treaty to continue playing the role of the Kyoto Protocol, which will expire in 2012.
(China Daily June 7, 2007)