California: From driving to walking

By Liu Yunyun in Warsaw, Poland
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, November 19, 2013
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"Of all the states in the United States, California makes the best and most efforts in coping with climate change," said Jiang Zhaoli, division chief of National Policy and Compliance of the Department of Climate Change of the National Development and Reform Commission, on the sidelines of the 19th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

At an event held in the China Pavilion on November 18, Jiang explained how California's carbon trading system is one of the most successful models in the world. He added that China looks forward to cooperating with the Environmental Protection Agency of California

Unlike the U.S. federal government, which is still struggling to pass a comprehensive bill to tackle climate change, Matthew Rodriquez, the California Secretary for Environmental Protection, said that California is very concerned about climate change, "Because we are already seeing the effects of climate change in California. Our average temperature has gone up by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over our recorded history." However, Rodriquez said he was also deeply impressed by the Chinese Government's efficiency in launching carbon trade systems. "While it takes California six years to get started, it's taking Chinese provinces and government six months to get started. That's a remarkable achievement," said Rodriquez.

As for what lessons China could draw from California, Rodriquez stated:"While in China many people are interested in having a car, in California, we are encouraging more people to walk, to use their bicycles, to live close to where they work, so that we use less energy on a daily basis."

He said California's goal is to reduce emissions by 18 million metric tons between now and 2020, which means emissions in California by 2020 will fall back to the levels in the 1990s. After participating in a low carbon seminar held by the Chinese delegation to Warsaw, Rodriquez said he was impressed by what he had picked up from the seminar and would take that message back to the people in California in order to reassure them that China is serious about taking on these issues and has come up with impressive programs.

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