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US Climate Plan No Replacement for UN Environmental Treaties: Official
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The new US plan should reflect the common but differentiated responsibilities in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and some details in the plan are to be communicated and discussed with other countries, said Ma Kai, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a press conference.

He said the US new proposal shows positive changes, including a focus on maintaining economic growth, and the need for technology innovation and transfer in combating climate change.

Yesterday, China became the first developing country to publish a national action plan on climate change as a means to combat global warming.

The Chinese government has set the target of cutting major pollutants including sulphur dioxide and chemical oxygen demand by 10 percent in the five years up to 2010. While the country does not include carbon dioxide in its major pollutants reduction plan, Ma explained that energy saving will help reduce its emission.

Ma also said that not undertaking the quantitative task for reducing greenhouse gas emission does not mean China won't undertake GHG mitigation obligation.

China will not take the traditional industrialization path of high emission and high energy consumption, but rather a new road of fast and efficient economic growth in concert with low resources consumption and low waste discharge, said Ma.

"This process itself will be part of China's contribution to the world's sustainable development and to worldwide efforts to address climate changes," he said.

Ma said climate changes have attracted increasing attention from the international community, which has reached a consensus on the following facts:

-- Global warming is an indisputable fact.

-- Apart from natural factors, global warming has resulted from human activities, particularly the use of fossil fuels such as coal and oil, which account for 65 percent of carbon dioxide emission worldwide.

-- Global warming is a common challenge facing all people worldwide, which needs the joint efforts of the international community.

"The Chinese government has always attached importance to climate changes and always been willing to cooperate with the international community in easing global warming," the minister said.

Talking about whether a developing nation should undertake the quantitative task for GHG mitigation, Ma said it is necessary to properly understand the essence of the climatic change issue.

He quoted President Hu Jintao's judgment made at a G8+5 meeting held in 2005. Hu said climate change was a problem of environment and a problem of development at the same time.

The developed nations accounted for 95 percent of carbon dioxide emission worldwide resulting from the use of fossil fuels from the start of the Industrial Revolution to 1955, and for 77 percent in the 1950-2000 period, Ma quoted.

Therefore, the minister said, developed nations are inescapably liable for climate changes and should take major obligations.

"They are under an obligation to provide financial and technological support for developing nations in their efforts against climate changes," Ma said.

As for developing nations, they recorded less accumulative amount of GHG discharge and low per-capita emission, their priorities are economic development and poverty relief, according to Ma.

While addressing the climatic change issue, the international community should take into full consideration developing nations' right and space to develop.

"We think if facts, historical accountability and different nations in different stages of development are ignored and climatic problems are taken as an excuse in improperly requiring developing countries to take on GHG mitigation obligations as their developed peers do, it is not objective and unfair, as the requirement may restrict the industrialization and development of developing nations," Ma said.

According to China's National Climate Change Program issued on Monday, China will likely mitigate carbon dioxide emission by approximately 50 million tons by 2010 through the development of hydro power projects. Another 110 million tons of the greenhouse gas will not be discharged by eliminating small thermal power projects.

Meanwhile, bio-energy projects will help reduce GHG emission by 30 million tons by 2010, and wind, solar, marine, and terrestrial heat projects help slash such gas emission by 60 million tons.

(Xinhua News Agency June 4, 2007)

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