Sunday, November 25, 2012

Chinese Updates: China Pledges Emissions Cuts in Run up to Doha

China Pledges Emissions Cuts in Run up to Doha

China reiterated on Wednesday that it is resolute in reducing emissions and working to see its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions peak at an earlier date.

China will never follow the development mode of developed countries, whose emissions usually peaked when their per capita gross domestic product (GDP) stood at nearly 40,000 to 50,000 U.S. dollars, Xie Zhenhua, China's chief negotiator to the UN climate change talks, said upon the release of a government report addressing climate change.

Xie explained that a country's emissions will increase in tandem with economic growth, but when emissions peak, the level will remain stable for a time and then begin to drop, like an inverted "U."
China's emissions are at the climbing stage, said Xie.

It's unfair and unreasonable to hold China to absolute cuts in emissions at the present stage, when its per capita GDP stands at just 5,000 U.S. dollars, Xie said.

However, through efforts, China is likely to see emissions peak at a time when the country's per capita GDP is half that of developed countries when they saw emissions peak, said Xie, who is also deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

China has become the world's largest emitter of CO2, said Xie, but the country's per capita and historical emissions of greenhouse gases are far below those of developed nations.

A green and low-carbon development path is not only China's only choice if the country is to realize sustainable growth, but also a trend in world economic and social development, said Xie, noting that China has a large population but limited resources and a vulnerable environment.

He urged seizing the opportunity to vigorously develop green and low-carbon technologies and industries in order to gain an edge in this regard in fierce competition in the future.

In President Hu Jintao's report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he said China must give high priority to making ecological progress, work hard to build a beautiful country and achieve the nation's lasting and sustainable development.

The report addressing climate change, released ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, scheduled to be held from Nov. 26 to Dec. 7 in Doha, Qatar, detailed policies and efforts that have been made over the past year in facing the challenges of global climate change.
The upcoming Doha Climate Change Conference is of great significance for maintaining the basic legal framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, the report said.

"We hope the Doha conference, like the one in Durban (last year), will reach a comprehensive and balanced result," said Xie.

"After nearly two decades of negotiations, we need to finalize the common understanding set up by the convention and the protocol, (in order) to take action and to fulfill the promises made by countries," Xie said.
The most important outcome of the conference should be making definite arrangements for the implementation and enforcement of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
It should also ensure that the second commitment period is implemented on Jan. 1, 2013, the report said.
China will keep an open mind in international climate talks only if the principles of fairness and "common but differentiated responsibilities" are adhered to.
"No matter the negotiation result (in Doha), China will take more active measures domestically," said Xie.

During the 2006-2010 period, China's aggregate energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped 19.1 percent from that of 2005, which is equivalent to a reduction of 1.46 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions. This means the nation has accomplished its energy conservation goals listed in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), Xie quoted the report as saying.

According to the report, China will continue to be active in further reducing domestic emissions by upgrading the industrial structure, improving energy efficiency, increasing vegetational coverage and strengthening international cooperation.

By 2015, the nation aims to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent, cut CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 17 percent and raise the proportion of non-fossil fuels in the overall primary energy mix to 11.4 percent, said the report.

Xie said developed countries should put forth more efforts and increase their emissions reduction promises, as they contributed most to the global emissions, historically speaking. "But they fail to do it now," he said.

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