China demonstrates responsibility in climate change conference

By Zhang Lulu
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, December 2, 2015
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Chinese President Xi Jinping has demonstrated the country's willingness and resolve to take on responsibility in tackling global climate change.

He Jiankun, vice chairman of the National Experts Panel on Climate Change. [Photo by Zhao Lisha/]

He Jiankun, vice chairman of the National Experts Panel on Climate Change. [Photo by Zhao Lisha/]

Speaking at the UN climate change conference in Paris, the first time a Chinese president has attended, Xi assured world leaders that the country will continue to work with the international community to cope with one of the world's most challenging problems in future.

Next year, China will launch cooperation projects to set up 10 pilot low-carbon industrial parks, start 100 mitigation and adaptation programs in other developing countries, and provide them with 1,000 training opportunities on climate change, the president announced in his speech on Nov. 30.

Scholars argued that developing countries are the most vulnerable to changes in the climate, which may jeopardize economic development, food security, and human health among other things.

Prior to his pledge in Paris, President Xi announced in September the establishment of a 20 billion-yuan (about US$3.1 billion) China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund. China will continue to promote international cooperation in such areas as clean energy, disaster prevention and mitigation, ecological protection, climate-smart agriculture, and low-carbon and smart cities, the president said in Paris. China will also help other developing countries to increase their financing capacity, he added.

Commenting on Xi's speech, He Jiankun, vice chairman of the National Experts Panel on Climate Change, said that it "fully showcased China's attitude of promoting climate change cooperation and forging a win-win situation with other developing countries. It also demonstrated that China will fulfill its international obligation."

In addition to helping its fellow developing countries tackle climate change, China also pledged to address the issue within the country.

The country has integrated climate change efforts into its medium and long term program of economic and social development, President Xi said. In its latest blueprint charting the course for the country for the next five years, the country committed to a green development strategy which emphasizes eco-friendliness and sustainability.

Additionally, with China's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted to the UN in late June, China pledged to peak CO2 emissions by around 2030, President Xi stated in his speech. The country will also reduce carbon dioxide per unit of GDP by 60-65 percent by 2030 from the 2005 level, raise the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to about 20 percent, and increase forest stock by around 4.5 billion cubic meters over the 2005 level.

"This requires strenuous efforts, but we have confidence and resolve to fulfill our commitments," the president said.

In his speech, President Xi proposed that countries should cast aside the "zero-sum" mentality in tackling climate change issues, but instead create a future of "win-win cooperation, with each country making contribution to the best of its ability." He said that the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," which was laid by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, should be continuously pursued .

Su Wei, director of the Department of Climate Change under China's National Development and Reform Commission, said, "President Xi's speech introduces resolve and wisdom to the international efforts of adapting to climate change. I believe an (effective) outcome of the conference can be expected with such resolve and wisdom."

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