Climate change is believed to be one of the greatest challenges facing humanity this century as more frequent meteorological disasters threaten the environment.
The severe drought in southwest China, the lingering cold spell in much of the north and the torrential rain in Hunan and Chongqing in the last couple of days all indicate that people must take action to protect the environment as the 40th Earth Day, observed each year April 22, approaches.
The Beijing-based environmental organization Friends of Nature Tuesday heard scholars and experts discuss the links between more frequent natural disasters, climate change, and environmental degradation.
As the world's biggest developing country, China is greatly concerned about climate change.
The following is a briefing on China's actions in the global effort to fight climate change:
In 2005, China passed the Renewable Energy Law, encouraging development of renewable energies including solar and wind power.
In 2006, China approved its 11th five-year plan (2006-2010), which required reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent in 2010 compared to the 2005 level.
In 2007, China's State Council, the cabinet, publicized a national plan for coping with climate change. It again stressed the target of a 20-percent reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP by 2010 compared to 2005. Between 2006 and 2009, reductions of 14.38 percent were achieved.
In 2008, China limited use of plastics, requiring supermarkets, department stores, grocery stores to no longer provide free plastic shopping bags in a bid to reduce energy consumption and pollution. It is estimated this measure can reduce about 3 million tonnes of oil consumption and up to 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
In November 2009, China announced it would reduce its carbon emission intensity per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020 compared to 2005.
Between 2006 and 2009, China eliminated 81.72 million tonnes of outdated iron-making capacity, 60.38 million tonnes in steel-making, and 210 million tonnes in cement-making.
In 2008, the total amount of renewable energy consumed in China is estimated to be the same as that generated from 250 million tonnes of standard coal, about 9 percent of the total primary energy consumption. China aims to raise the rate to 15 percent by 2020.
China has a total of 195 million hectares of forest. Forest coverage ratio is 20.36 percent, compared to 13.92 percent in the early nineties.
China now cooperates with more than 140 countries and regions in meteorological science and technologies. It has signed with 22 countries cooperations agreements in the field, and helped train more than 900 meteorological professionals from well over 100 countries and regions.