Arthur Runge-Metzger, spokesperson of the European Commission delegation to the 2007 United Nations Climate Change Conference, said on December 9 in Bali, Indonesia, that China's announcement about its national program to combat climate change shows that it is serious in dealing with this issue. The United Nations Environment Program and World Wildlife Fund, as well as other organizations, have made similar statements.
China should not shoulder carbon emissions obligations alone
The international community is very concerned about China's carbon dioxide emissions. However, there is one clear fact that is often overlooked. China's per-capita carbon dioxide emissions are no less than one third of that of developed countries. In order to improve living standards, it is inevitable that "development emissions" increase during a certain period of time. As the world's major manufacturer, China is providing commodities for a large number of countries, but is now saddled by the increasing pressure for "transfer emissions" cuts.
"As a citizen from a country whose carbon dioxide emissions are five times higher than they are in China, I am not qualified to make indiscreet remarks on China," said Eric Hyman, an environmentalist from Deutsche. " In Germany, no one is starving, everyone has a car and we travel abroad by plane for vacation. We have a much higher living standard than ordinary Chinese. In this circumstance, it's not our right to criticize China's environmental measures."
What should be stressed is that a research report funded by the British Government indicates an unknown fact in terms of climate change: one fourth of China's greenhouse gas emissions are produced from the production process for goods exported to developed countries, which means Western countries are largely "exporting" emissions to China in another form.
European Commission Chairman José Manuel Barroso indicated that on the issue of climate change, China and the European Union shoulder common but differentiated responsibilities. "We can't ask countries like China and India to fulfill the same obligations as we do," he said.
Action to battle climate change
Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said China's National Climate Change Program has profound implications, and China is showing its action in fighting climate change.
Other scholars echoed Yvo de Boer's remarks. Professor Pablo Bustelo from Universidad de Complutense de Madrid, said in a recent article that the national climate change program issued by China is crucial to the whole world. China will not turn to a road of development based on energy consumption and other natural resources but it will continue the move to lower energy consumption and lower emissions, and use high efficiency technology while attempting to maintain high productivity.
He said that as a developing country, China refuses blind and unscrupulous industrialization. The program clearly explains China's standpoint in what developing countries' priorities are and the responsibilities all countries need to take in fighting climate change. The program explicitly expresses that China will try to deal with this problem in a responsible way.
Great contributions in the effort to fight global warming
Agence France Press mentioned in a recent report that a farming household in Yanqing County in Beijing uses solar absorber plates and new environmentally friendly cooking stoves. It was reported that the place where the house is located has a clear sky. Al Gore, the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Former Vice President of the United States,awarded the manufacture of this type of stove the Ashden Award, the famous British award established to commend sustainable development driven technologies around the world. It is indicated in the report that, "China might rank among the big contributors to the effort to fight global warming."
According to the UNDP, China ranks first in terms of solar energy production. The Renewable Energy Policy Network (REN21) says that China is moving fast in the use of renewable energy and small renewable energy programs are becoming part of China's rural energy system.
According to a report issued by Worldwatch Institute, an independent nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., China's renewable energy industry is booming, and it is quite possible that the set goals can be met or surpassed. China has made great strides in the development of solar and wind energy. It is promoting the development of these two energy technologies and setting a good example for other developing countries. Eric Martinot, senior researcher from the Worldwatch Institute, points out that in terms of renewable energy, the Chinese Government has worked out relevant policies while its business sector has developed relevant techniques. Because of this, China may well take a lead in this industry. One of his colleagues said: "China is moving towards cleaner and sustainable energy, and this tendency is likely to speed up."
In the area of combating climate change, China has drawn much attention from the rest of the world and it will surely have an influence on the world through its efforts.