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China's population policy slows global warming

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China's family planning policy has helped slow the pace of global warming, providing an additional measure in tackling climate change. The Vice minister of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, Zhao Baige, made the remarks on the sidelines of the Copenhagen conference on Wednesday.

Zhao Baige says China has managed to bring down its birth rate after family planning policies were first introduced 30 years ago. She says limiting excessive population growth has resulted in less carbon dioxide emissions.

The world's most populous country introduced its family planning policy, widely known as the one-child policy, in the 1970s, to curb excessive increases in population.

After the policy took effect, population growth has slowed down considerably.

Official figures show that China's birth rate fell from around 1.8 percent in 1978, to about 1.2 percent in 2007. The policy has resulted in four-hundred million fewer cumulative births.

Zhao says this represents a reduction of 180 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year at present.

Zhao said, "Regarding family planning, we have taken comprehensive policies and measures over the past 30 years. These include education, technological assistance, and administrative management. As a result, the average number of children each couple has, dropped from 5.8 to 1.8. As a result, China's current population is 1.3 billion instead of 1.7 billion. The 400 million fewer people are not only a benefit to China but also to the world."

China has formulated three major state policies on family planning, gender equality and environmental protection since its reform and opening-up in the late 1970s.

According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, per-capita emission of carbon dioxide in China is less than half of that Britain and one fifth of the United States.

Zhao points out that there is a strong correlation between population growth and climate change.

She says China would discuss recommendations on population policy and climate change, during the Copenhagen conference.

China's population policy slows global warming
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