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UPDATED: December 7, 2012 NO. 50 DECEMBER 13, 2012
Seeking a Climate Solution
China plays a responsible role in coping with climate change
By Yu Shujun

In Doha, U.S. climate envoy Stern also rejected the current division of developing and developed countries, which implies differentiated responsibilities.

"While there certainly needs to be differentiation between countries, differentiation should be built on a country's national circumstances and capabilities, but not built on an ideology that says we're going to draw a line down the middle of the world," said Stern, indicating a challenge to China's status as a developing country.

"China is still a developing country. It has to feed more than 1 billion Chinese and it has hundreds of millions of poor people," said Djacta.

Other emerging economies including Brazil, South Africa and India, which together with China are called BASIC countries, are facing the same pressure.

Djacta also said that the number of poor people in India or Brazil is two or three times that of the UK or France.

Fulfilling commitments

"We will not follow the past development model of developed countries and can't delay decreasing our emissions until our per-capita GDP reaches $50,000," said Xie.

Without developed countries' financial and technological support, China has made its commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emission per 10,000-yuan ($1,605) GDP by 40-45 percent in 2020 from 2005. This target is much more ambitious than many developed countries.

In its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the Chinese Government set the goals of cutting energy consumption per 10,000-yuan GDP by 16 percent and carbon dioxide emission per 10,000-yuan GDP by 17 percent, and raising the proportion of non-fossil fuel energy consumption to 11.4 percent.

During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10) period, energy consumption per 10,000-yuan GDP dropped by 19.1 percent. The index dropped by 2.1 percent in 2011 and 3.4 percent from January to September 2012, according to Xie. He estimated that carbon dioxide emission per 10,000-yuan GDP will drop by 5 percent this year.

To seek sustainable development, China is restructuring its industry by strictly limiting projects with high energy consumption, high pollutant emissions or excess capacity and eliminating outdated capacities. Although these efforts will erode economic growth, the government still spares no effort and has actually lowered its economic growth target in the 12th Five-Year Plan.

Energy-saving and new energy industries have been set among the country's strategic emerging industries, which are considered new growth engines for the country's economy during the 12th Five-Year Plan period.

"We can see that actions are going on in China and climate change is perfected in the five-year plan," said Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action.

"The Chinese Government has been investing a lot in a smart way to diversify their sources of energy to mitigate and adapt by their own national government policies," said Ban Ki-moon. "This is highly commendable."

"China is successful in using green technology, like solar and wind power, to decrease the use of fossil fuels," said Alexander Bedritsky, Special Envoy for Climate Affairs of the Russian Federation.

To mitigate the impact of climate change, China has been making efforts in increasing forest coverage and conserving grassland.

It has also launched low-carbon projects like transportation in many regions and initiated pilot programs for carbon emission trading in cities including Beijing and Shanghai.

"We appreciate that in China a concrete goal of targets has been set, analysis has been made, market mechanism is broadly used to help to fulfill the goals of decreasing climate change," said Bedritsky.

Outside the country, China has helped other developing countries mitigate and adapt to climate change through South-South cooperation.

"We're getting the largest help from China, not only in terms of the environment, but also for infrastructure," said Shakeela, Maldives' Minister of Environment and Energy.

The Chinese Government has pledged to earmark 200 million yuan ($31.7 million) to finance climate programs in Africa, the least developed countries and small island states in the next three years, said Xie.

Grenada, a small island country in the Caribbean, has increased its energy efficiency by 50 percent and saved $1 million in public spending by using energy-saving lamps donated by China, he said.

(Reporting from Doha, Qatar)

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