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December 19, 2009

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Wen tells the world of China's huge cuts

PREMIER Wen Jiabao yesterday put into perspective the massive leap forward China had taken in reducing emissions in an address to the world leaders' meeting in Copenhagen.

China had taken the biggest step among all countries in cutting carbon dioxide emissions over the past few years, Wen said.

"By the end of the first half of this year, China's energy consumption per unit of GDP had dropped by 13 percent from the 2005 level, equivalent to reducing 800 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions," Wen said.

He made the remarks in a wide-ranging speech entitled "Build Consensus and Strengthen Cooperation to Advance the Historical Process of Combating Climate Change" in the climax to the two-week United Nations climate change conference.

He said China had the world's fastest growth in the adoption of new and renewable energy and had the largest area of man-made forests.

"On the basis of protecting the eco-environment, we have developed hydro power in an orderly way, actively developed nuclear power, and encouraged and supported the development of renewable energy, including biomass, solar and geothermal energy and wind power in the countryside, remote areas and other places with the right conditions," Wen said.

Between 2005 and 2008, renewable energy in China increased by 51 percent, representing an annual growth rate of 14.7 percent, and in 2008, the use of renewable energy reached an equivalent of 250 million tons of standard coal.

He said 30.5 million rural households gained access to bio-gas, equivalent to a reduction of 49 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

China ranked first in the world in terms of installed hydro power capacity, nuclear power capacity under construction, the coverage of solar water heating panels and photovoltaic power capacity, Wen said.

In addition, China had continued with "the largest-scale endeavor to return farmland to forest and expand afforestation."

The total area of man-made forests in China had reached 54 million hectares, the largest in the world, he said.

China had not attached any condition to its target for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions or linked it to the target of any other country.

"This is a voluntary action China has taken in light of its national circumstances," he said.

"We will honor our word with real action. Whatever outcome this conference may produce, we will be fully committed to achieving and even exceeding the target.

"The Kyoto Protocol clearly set out emission reduction targets for developed countries in the first commitment period by 2012."

A review of implementation showed the emissions from many developed countries had increased rather than decreased and the mid-term reduction targets, announced by developed countries, fell considerably short of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change requirements, Wen said.

The UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol must be further strengthened, he said.

"China is now at an important stage of accelerated industrialization and urbanization, and, given the predominant role of coal in our energy mix, we are confronted with a special difficulty in emissions reduction," Wen said.

But China always regarded addressing climate change as vital.

He pointed out that developed countries were responsible for 80 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution more than 200 years ago.

"If we all agree that carbon dioxide emissions are the direct cause for climate change, then it is all too clear who should take the primary responsibility," he said.


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