China on Monday pledged to cut greenhouse
gas emissions as it unveiled its first climate change action plan but reiterated
that it would not commit itself to quantified reductions as it is "not fair" for
a developing country.
Ma Kai, minister of the National Development and Reform
Commission, announces China's action plan on climate changes in Beijing
June 4, 2007. [Xinhua]
Ma Kai, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC),
told a news briefing that it is "too early, too abrupt and too blunt" for the
international community to impose emission caps on China, whose historic and per
capita emissions are much lower than developed countries.
According to the World Resource Institute, China's cumulative emissions of
carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel combustion accounted for only 9.33 percent
of the world total from 1950 to 2002, says the 62-page action plan.
Energy Agency statistics also show that in 2004, China's per capita CO2 emission
from fossil fuel combustion was 3.65 tons, or 87 percent of the world average,
Ma said the foremost task for China is to "develop the economy and eradicate
poverty", and the international society should respect its right to development.
"The ramifications of limiting the development of developing countries would
be even more serious than those from climate change."
But he added that China will share the responsibility of mitigating the
effects of global warming with developed countries, which are responsible for
most of greenhouse gas emissions.
The action plan was unveiled two days before President Hu Jintao attends a
summit of G8 industrialized nations in Germany which will focus on global
The plan, co-drafted by 16 ministries, is the first of its kind in developing
countries, which are exempt from emission caps till 2012 under the Kyoto
It is also a result of China implementing the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change. The program sets three major goals to be met by
Reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product by 20 percent.
Raise the proportion of renewable energy in primary energy supply up to 10
percent from 7 percent.
Increase the forest coverage rate to 20 percent from 18 percent.
Key measures to help achieve the goals are also specified: Increase nuclear
power use, promote clean coal technology, and develop biofuel.
The program also calls for international collaboration in technology transfer
and capacity building.
"China is in urgent need of technology for reducing greenhouse gas
emissions," it says.
High-efficiency, low-pollution coal-burning power generation, large
hydropower generation units and new-generation nuclear technologies are among
those in great demand, it says.
Ma said the government hopes developed countries take a more practical stance
to support developing countries in technology transfer.
"We feel that there's been lots of thunder but little rain, lots of talk but
little action," he said when asked if China was satisfied with technology
Kishan Khoday, assistant resident representative of the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) in China, commended the program for providing "a key
channel" for the Chinese government in coordinating action to address climate
Khoday, also a team leader of the energy and environment program, added that
the UNDP will launch a new project with the NDRC in August to help provincial
governments better implement the program locally, starting with big