Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong,
I am glad to meet you again in Singapore, and I wish to express sincere thanks to you, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and the Singaporean Government for your hospitality.
With rapid industrialization, mankind has created material wealth by using fossil fuel. But this has caused the emission of large amounts of pollutants and greenhouse gases. As a result, energy, climate change and the environment have become increasingly acute global challenges confronting all of us. The fact that we are exchanging views on these issues of strategic significance at the East Asia Summit demonstrates the common resolve of countries in our region to strengthen cooperation and jointly address these challenges.
Mr. Chairman, now I wish to outline China's views and position on climate change:
First, climate change is a global issue. We must all work together to address this issue and protect our common homeland. Developed countries should face up to their historical responsibilities and the reality that their current per-capita emissions remain high, strictly comply with the emission reduction targets laid down in the Kyoto Protocol, and continue to take the lead in cutting emissions after 2012. Developing countries should adopt active and effective measures according to their capabilities and contribute their share to combating climate change. The international community should provide more support to developing countries, and developed countries should honor their commitment on transferring technology and providing financial assistance to developing countries to help them build capacity for mitigating and adapting to climate change.
Second, climate change is ultimately a development issue. We should pursue economic growth, social development and environmental protection in a coordinated and balanced way, and develop models of production and consumption compatible with sustainable development. It is both unfeasible and wrong to tackle climate change at the expense of economic growth or pursue economic growth with no regard to climate change. It is estimated that about 2.4 billion people still use coal, charcoal, firewood and crop stalks as primary sources of fuel and some 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity. To enable the poor population to enjoy modern energy services and development opportunities is both a moral imperative and a social responsibility. It should therefore be emphasized that efforts to tackle climate change should help, and not hinder, the efforts of countries, particularly developing countries, to grow their economy and reduce poverty.
Third, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, which are most authoritative, universal and comprehensive, constitute the legal basis of international cooperation on climate change. The principles of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and fairness established by the Convention represent consensus of the international community and recognize differences among countries in economic development, historical responsibilities and current per-capita emissions. We should uphold the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol as the basic framework for international cooperation, and we also welcome other initiatives and mechanisms on practical cooperation that supplements the UNFCCC framework.
Fourth, technological advances play a decisive role in mitigating and adapting to climate change. The international community should increase financial input and information sharing and step up cooperation in research and development and innovation in technologies for energy conservation, environmental protection and low-carbon energy. It is of particular importance to strengthen the dissemination and application of these technologies and make them affordable to the developing countries. In this respect, one should not lay undue stress on the role of market mechanism and make the market solely responsible for tackling climate change. Developed countries should lower trade and technological barriers, support the early implementation of UNFCCC provisions on technology transfer, establish effective mechanisms for technology transfer and cooperation, as this will enhance the capacity to jointly tackle climate change.
Fifth, adaptation to climate change is of the greatest concerns to developing countries, and it is a major part of the efforts to address climate change. Developed countries should, in a spirit of partnership for common development, actively help developing countries build capacity for adaptation and managing weather-related disasters. They should launch the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol at an early date and open it to all developing countries, improve the operation of the Global Environmental Facility and the Clean Development Mechanism to bring more benefits to developing countries, and commit more financial resources for adaptation efforts and provide new and additional financial support to developing countries. China will host the "EAS Seminar on Climate Change Adaptation Capacity Building" next year which will discuss ways for countries in our region to better adapt to climate change.
Mr. Chairman, China is the world's most populous country and a lower middle level income developing country, and it is seriously affected by climate change. The Chinese Government fully appreciates the importance and urgency of this challenge. It has, acting with a sense of responsibility to people, to the entire humanity and to future generations, taken a number of policy measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and has made important progress in this effort.
There has been a lot of media report on China's aggregate carbon dioxide emissions. But such report has ignored some basic facts. China is home to 21 percent of the world's population. China's per-capita emission of carbon dioxide is quite low, less than one third of the average level of developed countries. In China, there are still more than 20 million rural people living in poverty and over 22 million urban residents who are below the poverty line, and the country's economic and social development is uneven between urban and rural areas and among different regions. China's "development emissions" will see some increase, as we are endeavoring to improve the living standards and quality of life for 1.3 billion people. In addition, as a big manufacturing country, China makes products for consumers across the world, but it is under growing pressure of "transfer emissions." We hope that these two factors should be taken into full account when talking about China's emissions.
The Chinese Government takes environmental protection as a basic state policy and the Scientific Outlook on Development as its governing philosophy. In compliance with the UNFCCC and following China's plan for economic and social development and strategy for sustainable development, we have formulated and released China's National Climate Change Program, set up a national leading group on climate change and promulgated a number of related laws and regulations. We have set up the following targets on greenhouse gas emission control to be met in 2010: cut energy intensity by around 20 percent from the 2005 level, increase the share of renewable energy in primary energy supplies to 10 percent, keep industrial emissions of nitrous oxide at the 2005 level, increase forest cover to 20 percent, add 24 million hectares of grassland, treat 52 million hectares of degraded, sandified and alkalinized grassland, increase the share of nature reserves to about 16 percent of China's total landmass, and treat 22 million hectares of desertified land. These are challenging tasks, but we have the resolve and confidence to accomplish them with determined efforts.
China is striving to embark on a new path to industrialization that features low consumption of resources, low emissions, high efficiency and high output, and this is an integral part of international efforts to protect the environment, address climate change and achieve sustainable development. We look forward to the strong support for our efforts from the international community, particularly our East Asian neighbors. China will shoulder its due international responsibilities and obligations in accordance with the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. China supports the Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment to be adopted at this summit. We will work with you to translate the goal and initiatives of the Declaration into concrete action, boost efforts of East Asia countries to address climate change and promote harmonious, clean and sustainable development in East Asia.