China's efforts to combat climate change should be recognized

By Gong Yingchun
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 23, 2014
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Developed countries should recognize China's great contribution to the global process to combat climate change rather than criticize and impose impracticable responsibilities upon the country, said Chang Jiwen, vice director of the Research Institute of Resources and Environment Policies, Development Research Center of the State Council (DRC), during an exclusive interview with

In recent years, China has taken a series of actions to reduce carbon emissions, such as optimizing the industrial structure, improving energy efficiency, perfecting energy structure, increasing carbon sinks, and setting up low-carbon pilot cities nationwide.

In November 2009, the Chinese government announced its goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. The country will also increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15 percent and increase its forest areas to 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020.

By 2013, China's carbon intensity had decreased by 28.56 percent compared with 2005 levels; the proportion of non-fossil fuels in total primary energy consumption has increased to 9.8 percent; and forest coverage has reached 2 billion cubic meters, exceeding the original goal, said Xie Zhenhua, Vice Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, at a press conference held last week in Beijing.

On Sept. 19, China released its National Plan on Climate Change (2014-2020), to make sure that China will achieve all of its targets in the following six years. China is studying a greenhouse gas emission control action plan by 2030 and beyond, which may include the plan to set a cap on carbon dioxide emissions.

"China is committed to reducing its carbon emissions," said Chang. During an international climate change meeting of "the Group of 77 and China" held in Bolivia in May, "a professor from the French delegation passed me a note that read ‘It's likely that China is now the only country in the world which is sacrificing itself to prevent and tackle climate change,'" Chang was quoted as saying.

According to the U.N. Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, developed countries should take the lead in cutting carbon emissions and provide funds and technological support to developing countries. However, developed countries have been reluctant to fulfill their commitments and obligations. Some developed countries even use climate change to threaten China, Chang said.

From an historical point of view, developed countries should be most responsible for climate change, he said.

China will not follow the same old path that developed countries once took. It will explore a new, sustainable road by combining China's economic development and its fight against climate change together, said Chang.

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