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China to do its best to push climate conference success
Updated: 2009-08-24 17:36

BEIJING: China's top official for world climate change negotiation said Monday that China would "do its best with utmost sincerity" to push for the success of an international mechanism that is expected to urgently address global warming.

Xie Zhenhua, vice minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, that China would continue international negotiations on climate change with a spirit of "being highly responsible for the survival and long-term development of mankind".

Vice Minister Xie is to attend the 15th conference of the Parties (COP15) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from December 7 to December 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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Xie said China would adhere to the guidelines of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997 by most of the international community, and the Bali Road Map, agreed in 2007, to play a constructive role in negotiations, suggesting that China might launch its own proposals for multinational negotiations.

"Talks with developing countries should be strengthened to safeguard our common interests," Xie said.

Xie said China would also maintain dialogue with developed countries to enhance common ground while reducing differences.

"China in the meantime firmly opposes any form of trade protectionism disguised as tackling climate change," he said.

China would "include its strategy on climate change in its economic and social development plans."

The country has already cut emissions of heat-trapping gases by reorganizing energy structure, closing down technologically obsolete, energy-hogging small-sized coal-fueled power plants, developing renewable energy and nuclear power, and undertaking large-scale tree-planting programs, Xie said.

As a short-term goal, China would work to fulfil by 2010 targets of reducing energy consumption for every 10,000 yuan (US$1,470.6) of GDP by 20 percent, raising the ratio of renewable energy to 10 percent of total energy consumption, and achieving a forest coverage of 20 percent by then, as photosynthesis is an efficient decarbonizing method.

The country would also make great efforts toward developing a "green economy", building low-carbon projects, and assessing economic performance by how much less carbon was emitted per unit of GDP growth, he said.

"Carbon credit trade is already being conducted in certain regions and sectors."

He said efforts should be made to enhance capability in dealing with climate change especially in the sectors of agriculture, forestry and water resources, and in coastal or ecologically vulnerable areas.

China's fragile ecosystem was susceptible to climate change as its soil erosion was serious and its long coast line made coastal regions, including cities such as Shanghai and Xiamen, vulnerable to rising sea levels.

If climate change was not effectively controlled, the output of major agricultural products such as wheat, rice and corn, would be reduced by 37 percent in the second half of this century and, from 2010 to 2030, the western area of China would experience water shortages of approximately 20 billion cubic meters, says the China Meteorological Administration.

"International exchanges and cooperation to introduce advanced low-carbon technologies from other countries should be promoted," Xie said.

China would "support underdeveloped countries and small island nations to enhance their capacity to cope with climate change."

He called for capital and technological support and education of the public to strengthen the overall building of capacity to deal with climate change.

The legislature's four-day meeting, usually held every two months, began Monday morning.