UNITED NATIONS- "Emissions of subsistence" and "development emissions" of
poor countries should be accommodated while the "luxury emissions" of rich
countries should be restricted, a Chinese diplomat said here Wednesday.
"Adapting to climate change is as important as mitigating climate change,"
Liu Zhenmin, China's deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United
Nations, told an informal debate of the UN General Assembly on climate
Stressing the principles of equity and "common but differentiated
responsibilities," Liu urged developed countries to "shoulder in good faith
their historical and present responsibilities."
"The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol remain
the international cooperation framework and effective mechanism for addressing
climate change," he said.
Liu said efforts to address climate change should be conducive to sustainable
"For developing countries, economic development and poverty eradication are
overriding priorities," Liu said. "In fulfilling these tasks, controlling
greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to the negative impact of climate change
to the greatest extent will also contribute to achieving sustainable
He said the international community should take full account of the issue of
adaptation to climate change and enhancing the capabilities of developing
countries, small island developing countries and the least developed countries
in particular, to respond to disastrous climate events.
Wednesday's debate at the UN General Assembly focused on national strategies
and international commitments to address climate change. This followed two
interactive panel discussions Tuesday: "Climate Change: the Science, the Impact
and the Adaptation Imperative," and "Mitigation Strategies in the context of
Liu also stressed the importance of technological
progress in tackling climate change.
"The international community should not only strengthen cooperation in
research, development and innovation of new technologies, but also promote
dissemination and utilization of existing technologies and make them affordable
and accessible to developing countries," he said.
Liu said the Chinese government is fully aware of the gravity and urgency of
the issue of climate change and has adopted a series of policies and measures to
control greenhouse gas emissions, with major progress.
From 1990 to 2005, China's energy intensity went down by 47 percent,
accounting for an accumulated emission reduction of 1.8 billion tons of carbon
In 1980-2005, by planting trees and protecting forests, another 5 billion
tons of carbon dioxide was absorbed.
Thanks to the adoption of family planning policy since the 1970s, the Chinese
population is now 300 million less than that of expected, which accounts for an
annual reduction of carbon dioxide emissions of 1.2 billion tons, Liu said.
"All these achievements have not come easily, and their contribution to
addressing climate change is something to be reckoned with," he added.
Under China's National Climate Change Program, which was formulated and
released in accordance with the provisions of UNFCCC, China will reduce by 20
percent energy consumption per unit GDP by 2010 from the level of 2005, raising
the proportion of renewable energy in primary energy supply to 10 percent,
keeping the emissions of nitrous oxide from industrial processes stable at the
2005 level and increasing forest coverage rate to 20 percent.
Liu noted that per capita carbon dioxide emissions of China, home to 21
percent of the world population, are less than one third of the average level of
Although the Chinese economy has maintained a momentum of steady and fast
growth in recent years, over 20 million rural people and over 22 million urban
residents still live in poverty and the development of rural and urban areas and
among different regions is imbalanced.
"To improve the living standards of its 1.3 billion people, China's
'development emissions' may inevitably increase," Liu said. "As a major
manufacturer, China's products are enjoyed by countries across the world, but
China itself has to bear the mounting pressure of 'transfer emissions.'"
"We hope that all parties take full note of these two factors while focusing
on China's emissions," Liu said.