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Premier Li promises carbon emission cuts

Fu Jing in Brussels, Zhao Yinan in Paris and Lan Lan in Beijing
Updated: Jul 1,2015 6:43 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang and France’s President Francois Hollande greet the media at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 30.

Premier says nation will increase its use of nonfossil fuels for primary energy.

Premier Li Keqiang laid out ambitious targets for a reduction in carbon emissions during his visit to Paris on June 30.

“China’s carbon dioxide emissions will peak by around 2030, but China will work hard to achieve the target at an even earlier date,” Premier Li said.

The nation also aims to increase the share of nonfossil fuels in its primary energy consumption to about 20 percent by 2030, while reducing energy consumption per unit of economic output by 60 to 65 percent from its 2005 level.

Li announced the targets after meeting French President Francois Hollande in Paris, which will host UN environmental talks in December.

“I am very happy that Premier Li has announced the ambitious targets in my city, which has shouldered the great task of saving this planet this year,” said Pierre Calame, president of the China-Europa Forum Foundation, which is based in Paris.

Calame said Li’s announcement is “good news and big news. I have seen the Chinese government’s serious commitment.” But he said that realizing such targets depends heavily on changing the way of life for Chinese people. “And it also depends on China upgrading its economic structure,” Calame said.

Calame said that in addition to China’s efforts, the US and Europe should cut their energy consumption if they are serious about fighting climate change.

Zhang Jianyu, China representative of Environmental Defense, an environmental organization based in New York, called Li’s announcement “encouraging”.

“I hope the announcement will help prompt more countries in the world to unveil their targets,” said Zhang.

Fredrik Erixon, director of the Brussels-based European Centre for International Political Economy, said China is clearly making a serious pitch to assume responsibility in the politics of global climate change.

“While there does not seem to be much news in the new plan, its combination of various contributions allows for a meaningful negotiation at the Paris summit later this year,” said Erixon.

“China is key to getting a new agreement together, and even if its new proposal falls short of satisfying other key economies, it is the foundation for a start to negotiations that must have higher ambitions if the targets are to be achieved,” Erixon added.

Gao Shuang contributed to the story in Brussels.

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