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Nation reins in rapid emissions growth

By HOU LIQIANG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-10-16 07:02
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China has successfully reined in the rapid growth of carbon dioxide emissions and preliminarily decouple the economy and emissions growth, said Xie Zhenhua, China's special envoy for climate change affairs.

Xie made the remark on Thursday while addressing a forum on ecological civilization, which was held during the first phase of the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity that concluded on Friday in Kunming, capital of Yunnan province.

The largest UN biodiversity gathering in a decade-widely known as COP 15-will continue in the first half of next year.

Ecological civilization is a concept promoted by President Xi Jinping for balanced and sustainable development that features the harmonious coexistence of man and nature.

"Promoting green, low-carbon and circular development is a key strategic measure for the construction of an ecological civilization and high-quality, sustainable development," Xie said via a video link.

China has made great achievements in the low-carbon transition, he noted, and has successfully wiped out absolute poverty, which has haunted the Chinese nation for thousands of years.

Despite robust economic growth, with its GDP in 2020 increased by over four times from 2005, China managed to bring down carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 48.4 percent during the time, he said. The proportion of non-fossil energy in its primary energy consumption has been lifted to 15.9 percent last year.

This means that China has gone beyond the targets it set for 2020. "With the rapid growth of carbon dioxide emissions curbed, China has preliminarily decoupled economic development and emission growth," he said.

Xie said more climate actions are on the way as the country forges ahead with its goals of peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and going carbon neutral before 2060.

A central leading group for the climate goals has been drafting a policy system dubbed "1 + N", with 1 representing a general guideline and N specific action plans for different industrial sectors. Policies included in the system will be gradually unveiled, he said.

He also called for proactive participation not only from government bodies, but also different industrial sectors, enterprises, social organizations and individuals to contribute to the arduous climate goals that need wide-ranging and deep socioeconomic reforms.

Xie's call was echoed by a recent initiative launched by a series of institutions from home and abroad, including Silk Road Cities Alliance and China-Europe Association for Technical and Economic Cooperation.

"In the face of increasingly frequent extreme weather and natural disasters, for the sake of protecting life on our planet, we should not wait for the actions of others or blame others for their hesitation," the initiative said. "Instead, we should start to act on our own."

Made public earlier this month, the initiative called on all citizens on the planet, regardless of nationality, race, occupation, or age, to explore the scientific way to carbon neutrality and green development together. "Let's work shoulder-to-shoulder and hand-in-hand," it said.

It also made eight proposals, including the establishment of an international carbon neutral practice sharing mechanism, to carry out international exchanges and cooperation, and promote "green globalization".

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