Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Saturday that China will strengthen its capacity to adapt to climate change while pursuing economic development.
He made the pledge at the Economic Leaders Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum which opened at Sydney Opera House on Saturday.
The APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, with the theme of "Strengthening our community, building a sustainable future," is focusing on climate change and other issues at the first-day meeting.
Hu said China has always taken climate change very seriously and has set up the National Leading Group on Addressing Climate Change, enacted a series of laws and regulations, and formulated the National Program on Addressing Climate Change.
"We have contributed our share to mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions by taking a series of policy measures, including adjusting the economic structure, improving energy mix, raising energy efficiency, carrying out a forestation and practicing family planning," said the Chinese president.
Between 1991 and 2005, the total energy saved in China amounted to 800 million tons of standard coal, equivalent to 1.8 billion tons of CO2 emission reduction. Thanks to the policy of family planning China has pursued since the 1970s, its population growth has been lowered by more than 300 million, equivalent to 1.2 billion tons of annual CO2 emission reduction.
China is still a developing country with a large population and relatively low level of economic development. China is confronted with a huge challenge in tackling climate change, he told leaders of other APEC member economies.
"We will fully implement the National Program on Addressing Climate Change and endeavor to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen our capacity to adapt to climate change as we pursue economic development," said the Chinese president.
China has set the targets of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and discharge of main pollutants by 10 percent and raising forest coverage from 18.2 percent to 20 percent between the end of 2005 and 2010.
The Chinese president arrived in Sydney from Canberra on Wednesday to attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting. He has also paid a state visit to Australia.
The two-day Economic Leaders Meetings event is the culmination of this year's annual APEC meetings, which also include the Ministerial Meeting, Senior Officials' Meeting and a business summit.
Since its inception in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, APEC has played a vital role in making the Asia-Pacific region a driving force for world economic growth.
APEC currently has 21 members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. The chairmanship rotates among its members.
(Xinhua News Agency September 8, 2007)