China has approved the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Premier Zhu Rongji announced Tuesday.
"China has... completed the domestic procedure for the approval of the Kyoto Protocol with a view to taking an active part in multilateral environmental co-operation,'' Zhu told the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in the South African city of Johannesburg.
Sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Ambassador Wang Yingfan, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, deposited the instrument of approval of the Kyoto Protocol with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan last Friday.
A ministry press release said: "The approval manifests China's positive stance towards international environmental co-operation and world sustainable development.''
The Kyoto Protocol on climate change stipulates that signatories should cut greenhouse-gas emissions to at least 5 per cent below 1990 levels. The European Union countries agreed to a reduction of 8 per cent, the United States to 7 per cent and Japan to 6 per cent.
The text of the protocol was adopted on December 11, 1997 and was open for signature from March 16, 1998 to March 15, 1999. China signed it on May 29, 1998.
However, the Kyoto Protocol has yet to enter into force because the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the 90 signatory countries that have so far ratified or approved the document has not dropped to the required 55 per cent of the total global carbon-dioxide emissions of 1990.
The United States, the largest producer of greenhouse gases, withdrew from the protocol last year, drawing criticism from around the world.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry's news release said that China believes that the UN convention and its Kyoto Protocol "set forth the fundamental principles and provide an effective framework and a series of rules for international co-operation in combating climate change'' and deserve worldwide compliance.
"As Japan, the European Union and its member states have ratified or approved the protocol, China hopes that other developed countries will ratify or approve the protocol as soon as possible to enable it to enter into force this year,'' said the press release.
Greenhouse gases are believed to be responsible for global warming. The Chinese Government has taken measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, such as improving energy efficiency.
(China Daily September 4, 2002)