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China reaffirms resolve to fight climate change

Updated: Sep 24,2014 9:10 AM     Xinhua

Zhang Gaoli, vice-premier and President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, addresses the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 at the UN headquarters in New York Sept 23, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]

UNITED NATIONS — China reiterated its commitment to the common battle against climate change on Sept 23 and pledged to help boost South-South cooperation in dealing with the global threat.

Speaking at the UN Climate Summit as President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli also urged members of the international community to make concerted efforts so that the 2015 Paris conference will reach an agreement as scheduled.

“China attaches great importance to addressing climate change, and is ready to work with the international community to actively tackle the grave challenge of climate change,” Zhang said.

As Xi has pointed out, responding to climate change is what China needs to do both to achieve sustainable development at home and to fulfill its international obligations as a responsible major country, he added.

“This is not at others’ request but on our own initiative,” said the vice-premier.

Zhang Gaoli, vice-premier and President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, addresses the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 at the UN headquarters in New York Sept 23, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]

According to Zhang, China was the first among developing countries to formulate and implement a national climate change program and has recently adopted a national plan to make sure that it will meet the target of cutting carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level.

In 2013, carbon intensity in China was down by 28.5 percent from the 2005 level, which was equivalent to a reduction of 2.5 billion tons of CO2 emissions, the Chinese senior official added.

Noting that China is a developing country with 1.3 billion people and facing a daunting task of growing the economy, improving its people’s well-being and protecting the environment, he said China will nonetheless make greater efforts to address climate change more effectively.

As a responsible major country, China will also take on international responsibilities that are commensurate with its national conditions, stage of development and actual capabilities, the presidential envoy said.

“We will announce post-2020 actions on climate change as soon as we can, which will bring about marked progress in reducing carbon intensity, increasing the share of non-fossil fuels and raising the forest stock,” Zhang said, adding the action plan will also take the world’s most populous and largest developing country to the peak of its total CO2 emissions as early as possible.

Zhang Gaoli, vice-premier and President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, addresses the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 at the UN headquarters in New York Sept 23, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]

China is also dedicated to revolutionizing its energy production and consumption, establishing a carbon trading market at a faster pace, and blazing a path of sustainable development that leads to both economic growth and an effective response to climate change, Zhang said.

Meanwhile, China will vigorously promote South-South climate cooperation, and will double its annual financial support for the establishment of the South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change starting next year.

“China will provide $6 million to support the UN secretary-general in advancing South- South cooperation on climate change,” he noted.

What’s more, the vice-premier said, China firmly supports the 2015 Paris Conference process, and hopes the international community will join hands to guarantee that the talks will end with an agreement as scheduled.

To that end, Zhang urged the international community to stick to the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, follow its principles, and “fully, effectively and continuously” implement the provisions and commitments set out in the convention.

Zhang Gaoli, vice-premier and President Xi Jinping’s special envoy, addresses the United Nations Climate Summit 2014 at the UN headquarters in New York Sept 23, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]

All countries should meet their respective commitments and cement the basis of mutual trust, he suggested, stressing that developed countries need to intensify emission reduction and fulfill their commitment of annual financial support of $100 billion and technology transfer to developing countries by 2020.

In addition, Zhang urged all parties to strengthen future- oriented actions and boost capabilities for addressing climate change, saying that both developed and developing countries need to follow the path of green and low-carbon development and set forth post-2020 action plans that feature more forceful measures and closer cooperation.

Delegates from more than 200 countries and international organizations attend the summit, including over 100 heads of state or government. Convened by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and themed “Catalyzing Action”, the summit is expected to set the stage for the crucial Paris Conference.

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