Why China can be counted on to cut emissions

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 11, 2013
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Despite all the environmental challenges it has faced, China never shied away from its global responsibilities on the issue of climate change, especially when it comes to cutting emissions.

That is because the country is determined to pursue a green development path, and therefore it can be counted on as a faithful partner by the world's nations gathering Monday in Warsaw for the annual two-week UN climate talks.

In accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," China and other developing countries are not actually obliged to set legally binding targets for emission cuts. However, China has voluntarily worked out its own timetable for reduction.

By 2015, China aims to cut its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent and CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 17 percent, while raising the proportion of non-fossil fuels in its overall energy mix to 11.4 percent.

In 2012, China's CO2 emissions per unit of GDP fell by over 5 percent compared to that of the year before; while between 2006 and 2010, its CO2 emissions per unit of GDP dropped by nearly 20 percent from the 2005 level, equivalent to the reduction of 1.46 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Furthermore, Beijing has been instrumental in helping other nations combat climate change. It earmarked special funds to finance climate programs in the least developed and small island nations, while many developed countries have remained reluctant to offer sufficient funds and technologies to such countries, in particular, the poorest nations often worst hit by the effects of climate change.

China understands that environmental problems such as extreme weather events, particularly the heavy smog that has frequently smothered Beijing in recent years, have stoked widespread concern for the environment and fanned the demand for a healthier path of development. As a responsible country wishing to secure the wellbeing of both its own people and that of the world, it can be counted on to make effective efforts to ensure reduced emissions and a better environment, such as developing energy-saving technologies, as well as new and renewable energy industries.

In the meantime, carping critics should be reminded that China's per capita as well as historical emissions of greenhouse gases are far lower than those of many industrialized countries and more importantly, China is entitled to further pursue industrialization and urbanization for the benefit of its 1.35 billion people.

In spite of its fast economic growth and rising global influence, China remains troubled by the unbalanced performance of its different regions.

With a per capita GDP of merely 6,000 U.S. dollars in 2012, the country still has 100 million people living below the poverty line. Therefore, China's total carbon emissions may inevitably continue to grow as it seeks to eradicate poverty, at a time when the amount of international emissions transferred to China remains vast.

However, the pace of China's carbon emission increase will gradually slow down in the foreseeable future as China is determined to transform itself into a more sustainable and eco-friendly economy.


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