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August 28, 2009

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China ramps up on climate change

CHINA'S legislature yesterday approved a resolution on climate change that calls for the country to make more progress in reducing greenhouse gases but also urges developed nations to take the lead on the issue.

The resolution was endorsed by lawmakers at the closing meeting of a four-day session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

It sets out China's views in advance of an international conference in December in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The statement will accelerate the country's attempts to tackle the pressing challenge of global warming and signaled a stronger role for China in negotiating possible solutions to curtailing emissions.

"China will continue constructively participating in international conferences and negotiations on climate change and advance comprehensive, effective and sustained implementation of the international convention and its protocol," the resolution said.

It said China, "as a developing country," will firmly "maintain the right to development" and opposes "any form of trade protectionism disguised as tackling climate change."

Developed nations should "take the lead in quantifying their reductions of emissions" and honor their commitments to "support developing countries with funds and technology transfers," the statement said.

"Since the Industrial Revolution, the activities of mankind, especially economic activities of developed nations during their industrialization process, have been a major cause of climate change," it said.

The resolution said China will adhere to "the basic framework" set up in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed by more than 150 countries in 1992, and the Kyoto Protocol, agreed to in 1997 by a majority of the international community to set binding targets for developed countries to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions.

The country must commit to saving energy and reducing emissions by promoting energy-efficient technology and products, exploiting renewable and clean energy, developing a recycling economy and further advancing afforestation and forestry carbon sequestration, the resolution said.

The resolution called on China to make carbon reductions a new source of economic growth and to change the country's economic development model to maximize efficiency, lower energy consumption and minimize carbon discharges.

The resolution said efforts should be made to improve laws on environmental protection and climate change and that the NPC Standing Committee should strengthen supervision of enforcement of these laws to better deal with global warming.

Xie Zhenhua, the country's top representative in international climate change negotiations, told lawmakers on Monday that China would "do its best" to push for the success of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, which is expected to negotiate a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol.


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