Three points stand out in China's efforts to fight against climate change

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Three points stand out in China's efforts to fight against climate change, said Renata Lok- Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Resident Representative in China on Friday, at the ongoing UN climate change conference, held in Cancun, a resort city of Mexico.

Lok-Dessallien spoke highly of China's contribution in energy saving and emission reduction. According to her, three points should be praised including rigorous targets for energy efficiency, the government's policy and the achievements in developing renewable energy.

She said one area for China to stand out is on energy efficiency and conservation. "As China is among the biggest energy consumers in the world, its efficiency and conservation efforts are significant to global climate change," she said.

China's 11th five-year-plan, which ends this year, sets a goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent by 2020. "This was then broken down into provincial and sub provincial targets which are being met via a number of measures, including shutting down small thermal powered units, closing cement steel and iron factories that are using obsolete and energy inefficient production technologies." she added.

Lok-Dessallien said that China has mainstreamed climate change into its development agenda, and it is actively attempting to forge a new development model that is both low carbon and sustainable in other respects.

She said it is well reflected in China's institutional architecture. Prior to the late 1990s, China approached climate change from a purely scientific basis. The institution responsible for this was the China Meteorological Administration. This was all changed in 1998 when the primary responsibility for climate change shifted to the National Development and Reforms Commissions, the institution in charge of overall social and economic development planning.

China's national climate change program of 2007, also known as the climate plan, was another significant milestone. It provided a policy framework to moderate greenhouse gas emissions, as well as adaptation measures. "These are vitally important for any country, but particularly important for a large economy such as China, with sizable productive growth ahead of it," Lok-Dessallien said.

With regard to the green energy, Lok-Dessallien considered that China has become the world's biggest investor in clean energy in 2008, with about 34.6 billion U.S. dollars, which was considerably more than the largest developed country, "China has worked in this field for many years. In 2006, it promulgated the renewable energy law and for the first time set targets to double the proportion of renewable in the total energy consumption mix from about 7 percent to 15 percent by 2020," she said.

Lok-Dessallien also mentioned China's drive to produce low- carbon cities and provinces and said it is a very good step. "Major technological breakthroughs and behavioral changes are needed in the largest developing country in the world with the sizable development program. What's more, China is also try to support other countries, China is in a unique position to inspire low-carbon development not only at home but also in elsewhere in the world,"she said.

According to her, UNDP and China recently signed an agreement to share China's experience and knowledge with other developing countries in a range of fields including climate change."China's experience and ongoing innovation can save other developing countries time and expense in their low-carbon development imperatives," she added.

The Cancun talks, from Nov. 29 to Dec. 10, are aimed at finding solutions to global climate change. It has attracted about 25,000 participants from governments, businesses, nongovernmental organizations and research institutions in almost 200 countries.

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