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UPDATED: November 26, 2010
China Vows to Cut Emission Levels as Cancun Conference Approaches

China Tuesday underlined its position on climate change for the upcoming Cancun Conference, vowing to "effectively control" greenhouse gas emissions over the next five years.

China's pledge came in its Annual Report on Policies and Actions to Address Climate Change, which was published by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Tuesday, one week ahead of the the United Nations' Cancun Conference.

Chinese moves in emission reduction

In November 2009, China promised to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels, while increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15 percent by 2020.

At a press conference unveiling the report, Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of NDRC, China's top economic planner, said great effort has been made by China in energy-saving and greenhouse gas emission reductions in recent years.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) period, China's investment in energy-saving and emission-reduction projects reached about 2 trillion yuan ($301 billion), more than 200 billion yuan (13.2 trillion) of which came from the Chinese Government, according to NDRC statistics.

Xie said it is likely China has cut emissions of carbon dioxide by about 1.5 billion tonnes because of energy-saving and emission-reduction investments during the period.

"The size of the emission reduction is greater than any other country in the world," Xie said. "This is China's contribution (to preventing global climate change)."

According to the climate change report, reductions in energy consumption and carbon-dioxide emission intensity will be binding targets for China to fulfil its commitment over the period.

"For the energy-saving and environmental-protection industries, the binding targets mean great market potential and opportunity for the green and low-carbon economy," Xie said.

Chinese positon on Cancun Conference

In the report, the Chinese Government reiterated its position on global climate change talks, as leaders and representatives of about 180 countries prepare for the Cancun Conference to be held November 29 to December 10 in the Mexican resort city.

UN member countries will try to reach a consensus at the conference to lay the foundation for a legally binding treaty to be agreed upon at next year's conference in South Africa.

Developed and developing nations, however, are divided on climate change arrangements in terms of mitigation, technology transfer and financial support.

"China opposes any draft that has not been fully discussed or recognized by member countries as the basis for negotiation at the upcoming Cancun Conference," said the report.

Xie, who is a member of the Chinese delegation to Cancun, noted after more than 20 years of talks, the world has achieved results on climate change, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the Bali Roadmap and the Copenhagen Accord.

The Cancun Conference should proceed with climate talks on the basis of consensus set by those documents, Xie said, adding: "we should step forward rather than walk backward."

He stressed the Cancun Conference must uphold the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities," saying developed countries should take responsibility for their cumulative emissions and current high per capita emissions.

"The developed countries should take action first to mitigate climate change," he said.

Xie expressed hope the Cancun Conference can achieve tangible results on finance and technology transfer to help developing countries tackle climate change.

"China will continue to play a constructive role and work with other parties to achieve a successful outcome at the Cancun Conference," he added.

(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2010)

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