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September 23, 2009

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Hu vows massive carbon reductions

PRESIDENT Hu Jintao yesterday pledged to fight climate change by setting a new target to rein in the growth of carbon emissions as the Chinese economy develops.

"We will endeavor to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level," Hu told a United Nations summit on global warming.

"The world expects us to make a decision in the face of climate change, an issue which bears on mankind's survival and development," Hu said.

At the UN's highest-level conference yet on climate change, China pledged ambitious plans to plant enough forest to cover an area the size of Norway and use 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources within a decade.

China will work to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from 2005 levels, the president said.

Hu also promised "determined and practical steps" to boost the country's nuclear energy and improve energy efficiency.

"At stake in the fight against climate change are the common interests of the entire world," Hu said. "Out of a sense of responsibility to its own people and people across the world, China fully appreciates the importance and urgency of addressing climate change."

The Chinese president called for developed countries to support the developing world with financial help and green technology to fight global warming.

Hu went on to say that the international community should tackle global climate change through common development.

"Global climate change has a profound impact on the existence and development of mankind and is a major challenge facing all countries," the Chinese president said.

"Climate change is an environmental issue but also, and more importantly, a development issue. We should and can only advance efforts to address climate change in the course of development and meet the challenge through common development," he said.

Hu highlighted four principles to be followed in the world's effort to tackle climate change:

Fulfill respective responsi-bilities;

Achieve mutual benefit and a "win-win" outcome;

Promote common development;

Ensure financing and techno-logy.

"Out of a sense of responsibility to the world ... China has taken and will continue to take determined and practical steps to tackle this challenge," Hu said.

China's ambition to grow quickly but cleanly soon may vault it to "front-runner" status - far ahead of the United States - in taking on global warming, the UN climate chief said on Monday.

The Chinese president arrived in New York on Monday for the UN climate change summit and for other UN meetings.

He will also attend a financial summit of the Group of 20 nations in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Thursday and Friday.


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