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UPDATED: December 7, 2009 NO. 49 DECEMBER 10, 2009
Committed to Carbon Reduction
Chinese efforts to lower carbon emissions through environmentally friendly means begin gaining momentum

Equally irrational is the expectation for industrializing countries to provide manufactured goods, in effect assuming the hard labor responsibilities of the developed world, but forbidding them to increase their emissions, Xiong said.

"Tackling climate change needs to be a concerted effort, breaking the boundaries of nation, race and culture," said Xiong.

While the Chinese Government has been actively participating in international efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the reduction efforts have not received any capital or technological support from the international community, Xie said. Despite being all but ignored, China has introduced measures to raise its reduction target per unit of the GDP by 20 percent for 2010.

"Without any capital or technological support from developed countries, we have made considerable achievements in meeting this goal," said Xie.

In late November, China vowed to reduce carbon emissions by 40-45 percent in 2020, compared to 2005 levels. "If we can attain capital and technological support, the goal will be achieved faster and better," Xie said.

China's 10-year Emission Reduction Plan

By 2020, China's carbon dioxide emissions will have dropped 40-45 percent per unit of GDP compared with that of 2005; the proportion of non-fossil fuel use will be increased to 15 percent of all energy consumption; and forest acreage will increase 40 million hectares.

China's Achievements in Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction

By the end of June this year, China's energy consumption per unit of GDP had decreased by 13.45 percent based on figures from 2005, demonstrating the progress made by the country in saving energy, reducing emissions and coping with climate change.

China has carried out nine environmentally focused measures to date:

Eliminating backward production capacity. From 2006 to 2008, China eliminated 60.59 million tons in the iron smelting industry, 43.47 million tons in the steel making industry, 140 million tons in the cement industry and 64.45 million tons in the coke industry of backward production capacity. In the first half of 2009, small thermopower stations with a total generating capacity of 54.07 million kw were closed.

Optimizing energy structure. By 2008, the volume of renewable energy used by the country was equivalent to 250 million tons of standard coal. China also ranked first in the world in terms of hydropower generating capacity, under-construction nuclear power scale, total collection area for solar heaters and production capacity of solar energy.

Promoting technological progress. The country has prioritized research and development of energy-saving technologies to reduce emissions, innovated key technologies to promote energy conservation and accelerated the establishment of a technological service mechanism to save energy and reduce emissions.

Increasing forest carbon sink. While actively implementing ecological protection and construction policies, such as natural forest protection, restoration of forests and grasslands, pasture construction and management, and construction of natural forest reserves, the country is also improving the capability of forests as warm house gas sinks. China's forest coverage rate has increased from 14 percent in the early 1980s to the present 20 percent, and its preserved afforestation area now ranks first in the world.

Strengthening basic administration. China has established and improved statistical, monitoring and assessment systems for its environmental policies, in addition to implementing a strict accountability system. While adopting the minimum energy efficiency standard and enlarging the scope of compulsory energy efficiency labels, China has also earnestly promoted conservation by major energy-consuming companies. Online systems have been adopted to monitor pollution levels from various sources.

Compensating green efforts. Special funds have been set aside to support key energy-conservation projects and energy-efficient products. For companies that save energy, develop recycling economy and carry out comprehensive resource utilization, the government reduces or exempts certain taxes to be paid by them.

Raising public awareness. To engage the public, China organizes various activities to promote energy conservation and emission reduction. The concept of resource conservation and environment protection has also been introduced into the educational system. In 2007, the Ministry of Science and Technology compiled the Manual on Promoting Energy Conservation and Emission Reduction, advertising 36 activities in people's lives where emissions reductions can be made.

Actively implementing clear development mechanisms (CDM). Through the CDM consultation service, China had reduced carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 63 million tons, as stipulated by the United Nations CDM Executive Board, by June 30, 2009. This accounted for about 45 percent of the total reduced emission of carbon dioxide for China during this period and 21 percent of the world's total reduction.

Advocating sustainable consumption. In accordance with its environmental and economic policies, China has carried out research on an environmental tax and supported research projects related to low carbon development.

Even under the intensity of the global financial crisis, China has never slowed its environmental efforts.

Of the 4-trillion-yuan ($585.65 billion) economic stimulus package, 132.9 billion yuan ($19.46 billion) was used for environmental and ecological readjustment projects. Energy conservation and emission reduction are key components in the State Council's 10 industrial readjustment plans, which aim to improve the efficiency of energy and resource utilization in certain industrial sectors, including iron and steel and auto industries.

To encourage consumers to conserve energy and reduce emissions, the government, by reducing or exempting taxes and providing fiscal subsidies, guides consumers to purchase small-displacement vehicles and use solar energy and other new energies.

All these measures have achieved remarkable results toward China's energy-saving and emission-reduction goals, as exemplified by the 3.35-percent decline in the country's per-unit energy consumption of GDP during the first half of 2009.

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