The international community should make more efforts to cope with climate change and jointly protect the earth, Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo said in L'Aquila, Italy on Thursday.
Dai, on behalf of Chinese President Hu Jintao, who cut short his stay in Italy and returned to Beijing due to the situation in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early Wednesday, made the remark when addressing the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on energy security and climate change.
In his speech, Dai expressed the hope that the meeting would help build mutual trust, reach consensus and promote cooperation in tackling climate change.
All countries should show political sincerity and spirit of cooperation in international negotiations on climate change, he said, adding that the international community should take actions in line with the "Bali Road Map" and push for the success of the upcoming Copenhagen Conference on climate change scheduled for December this year.
Climate change is a global challenge that not only concerns national welfare and people's livelihood, but also affects the world economic development and human's survival, Dai said.
He said that currently, with the international financial crisis still spreading and deepening, the world economy has slipped into recession.
Nevertheless, Dai said, no matter what changes take place in the international situation, the international community should never falter in its determination, slack off in its actions, and weaken efforts in tackling climate change.
The Chinese state councilor called on the international community to follow a path of clean, harmonious and sustainable development.
Dai offered a three-point proposal on the global fight against climate change.
He said that firstly, the right principle should be upheld in tackling climate change.
The cooperation among countries is indispensable for the fight against climate change, Dai said.
He called for unswerving implementation of the principle of "common but differentiated responsibility" established by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), since it is the guideline of international cooperation to cope with the challenge.
The state councilor said that developed countries should take the lead in reducing emissions to honor their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol for the first commitment period.
The developed countries should also set a medium-term emission reduction target after 2012, when the first commitment period expires, Dai said.
He added that the developing countries, within the framework of sustainable development, should also take active measures to make due contributions to emissions cut.
Secondly, the spreading of technologies should be reinforced, said the state councilor. He called for the building of environment-friendly and energy-saving societies, technology promotion, energy optimization and strengthening environmental protection.
He expressed the hope that all parties concerned, especially the developed countries, will support a proposal by the Group of 77 and China in Bali in 2007, which called on the developed countries to take concrete actions to help the developing countries fight climate change by providing them with funds and technology.
No countries should resort to any forms of protectionism under the excuse of tackling climate change and developing low-carbon economy, Dai said.
Thirdly, a solid foundation should be strengthened, he said. Dai said that economic development is the key to the fight against climate change and efforts to tackle the challenge would be in vain without the economic development of the developing countries.
The UNFCCC stipulates that economic and social development and poverty elimination are the primary tasks of the developing countries that have signed the convention, Dai said.
Therefore, actions to deal with climate change should promote rather than hinder the economic development of the developing countries.
For the time being, it is imperative for the developed countries to offer support for the sustainable development of the developing ones to inject new vigor into international cooperation, Dai said.
China has always attached great importance to climate change and has made constant achievements in energy saving and emission reduction in the past years, he said.
Although China, the world's largest developing country, is faced with arduous tasks including developing its economy, eliminating poverty and improving people's livelihood, it has always attached great importance to addressing climate change and participated in international cooperation in the field with an active, responsible and constructive attitude, Dai said.
The state councilor said China is the first developing country which has launched a national plan for coping with climate change.
In the plan, China has set the targets of cutting energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by some 20 percent from 2005 to 2010 and emissions of main pollutants by 10 percent, and raising the forest coverage rate to 20 percent from 18 percent and the proportion of renewable energies in primary energy resources from 7.5 percent to 10 percent.
Of the 4 trillion yuan stimulus package announced by the Chinese government last year, 580 billion yuan (US$84.9 billion) would be used on projects relating to climate change, Dai told the forum.
China's efforts made in energy saving and emission reduction have yielded fruits continuously in recent years, Dai said.
According to incomplete statistics, energy consumption per unit of the GDP has decreased by 10.1 percent in the past three years, saving energy equivalent of some 300 million tons of standard coal and emitting some 750 million tons less of carbon dioxide, he explained.
In 2007 alone, the total amount of renewable energies used had reached an equivalent of some 220 million tons of standard coal, equaling emissions of some 500 million tons less of carbon dioxide, he added.
Dai said that China supports the United Nations to play a leading role in the international cooperation in coping with climate change, actively participates in talks on implementing "the Bali Road Map" and constructively works for the success of the forthcoming Copenhagen meeting, which aims to work out a new global pact on climate change to replace the current Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012.
China will, based on the principles of openness, cooperation, mutual benefit and achieving a win-win result, continue to work along with the international community to make unremitting efforts in coping with the global climate change and realizing sustainable development, Dai said.
Leaders of the G8 industrialized countries and five leading emerging economies -- India, China, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa -- met on Thursday to discuss economic issues, climate change, trade and other international issues.
(Xinhua News Agency July 10, 2009)