The transfer of responsibility for tackling climate change to the country’s top environmental watchdog will help promote and improve the critical process, said an official.
Li Gao, director-general of climate change, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, made the remark during a news conference on Oct 31 in Beijing after his department was transferred to the ministry from the National Development and Reform Commission.
After years of effort, China has achieved remarkable results in tackling climate change. The carbon intensity, or the ratio of greenhouse gas emissions produced to gross domestic product, fell 46 percent last year from 2005 levels. This shows that China is attaining its goal of reducing the intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020, two years ahead of schedule, Li said.
“This lays a good foundation for the country to achieve the goal it set for 2030,” Li said.
The shift of duties of tackling climate change to the ministry helps better coordinate and collectively promote the country’s efforts to control greenhouse gases and other pollutants, he said.
The key task in tackling climate change is to control carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels. Coal, a major source of energy in China, is a significant contributor to air pollution, he said.
The country has limited the expansion of industries with high energy consumption and pollution, promoted use of clean energy, and accelerated the adjustment of energy generation in its action plans for air pollution control in the past few years. These measures are also helping contribute to greenhouse emissions control, he said.
“Air pollution control measures in recent years have helped reduce the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent of 175 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. The actions to improve air quality have played a significant role in helping us realize the goal of tackling climate change,” he said.
Meanwhile, controls over greenhouse gas emissions have also contributed to reduced air pollution. The reduction of one ton of carbon dioxide also means a decrease of 3.2 kilograms of sulfur dioxide and 2.8 kg of nitric oxide, he added.
The shift to the ministry provides better coordination in tackling climate change and controlling air pollution, he said.
“We will collaboratively promote the work … in our monitoring and setting of targets, as well as in policy drafting,” Li added.