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Tackling climate change 'urgent,' Hu says

By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-02-24 09:31
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China's highest leadership yesterday began considering proposals from the country's senior researchers in an attempt to help achieve the country's ambitious goal of cutting carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020.

The move is a sign that China will roll out more economic and industrial policies to tackle climate change this year when drawing up the development roadmap for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).

The political bureau of the CPC Central Committee has raised climate change as their study topic for the second time during the past two years. The leadership usually holds study meetings every one or two months.

At the study meeting in Beijing, President Hu Jintao said China is committed to fighting climate change, and the leadership will be working hard to mobilize efforts to realize the goal, which China came up with shortly before the Copenhagen summit.

Ever since Nov 26 last year, when China pledged to cut carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent (from 2005 levels) before 2020, China's leaders, especially Premier Wen Jiabao, have been involved in intensive diplomatic efforts, including wide-ranging telephone talks with world leaders, to move forward the Copenhagen agenda.

However, some countries, including Britain, have accused China of obstructing December's Copenhagen climate summit, which ended with a non-binding accord that set a target of limiting global warming to a maximum 2 C, but was scant on details.

"We must fully recognize the importance, urgency and difficulty of dealing with climate change," Hu said in an address to other high-ranking leaders after listening to lectures by Pan Jiahua, senior researcher with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Xu Huaqing, director of the Energy Research Institute affiliated with the National Development and Reform Commission.

"We must make it an important strategy for our socio-economic development," Hu said.

Energy saving, emissions cuts and environmental awareness must be inculcated into not only every government worker, but Chinese society as a whole, Hu said.

Active role praised

In another development, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen recently praised Wen Jiabao for his "important and constructive role" during the Copenhagen climate change summit last December.

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In a letter to Wen, Rasmussen agreed with the premier's evaluation that the Copenhagen summit had delivered positive results, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said yesterday.

The two leaders also agreed that the upcoming negotiations should be conducted under the United Nations framework. China officials said they hope the two countries will strengthen communication and dialogue in order to address climate change issues.

Rasmussen replied to Wen on Feb 12 after the Chinese Premier wrote separate letters to Rasmussen and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, informing them that China positively evaluates and supports the Copenhagen Accord, a political agreement achieved last December after 192 UN members met in the Danish capital.

In the letter, Wen pointed out that the Copenhagen Accord reflected the political will of all parties to actively tackle climate change, reaffirmed the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and upheld the dual-track negotiating mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol.

The letter reaffirmed China's commitment to advancing international cooperation on tackling climate change and the direction for future negotiations.

Wen also said China will do its best to honor its commitments on climate change, including a reduction of carbon dioxide emission intensity per unit of GDP by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 against 2005 levels; increasing to 15 percent the use of non-fossil fuels in the country's total primary energy mix by 2020; and an increase of 40 million hectares of forest and 1.3 billion cubic meters of forest volume by 2020 from 2005 levels.

Wen also confirmed that China will continue to play an active and constructive role and work jointly with the international community for a meaningful conclusion of the Bali Roadmap negotiations at the Mexico Climate Talks, with the aim of achieving a comprehensive, effective and binding outcome that will reinforce the implementation of the convention and the protocol.