30 October 2008

China issues post-Kyoto plans on climate change

By Li Jing, China Daily, 2008-10-30 06:57

The clean development mechanism (CDM) should continue to be implemented even after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires, says a white paper on China's policies on climate change.

But the CDM, the carbon trading system established under the Kyoto Protocol, needs to be amended to encourage more technology transfer to developing countries, says the paper, issued by the State Council Information Office Wednesday.

"China will continue to play an active and constructive role at UN conferences to negotiate a post-Kyoto Protocol agreement" to fight climate change, Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said while releasing the white paper.

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It sets binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That amounts to an average of 5 percent cut against the 1990 levels from 2008 to 2012.

By conserving and using renewable energy, China reduced 835 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent in 2006 and 2007, the white paper says. The reduction is almost equal to the combined GHG emission volume of the UK and Belgium in 2005, according to the latest figures of the UNFCCC.

"China has taken aggressive steps to combat global warming," Xie said. The country's blueprint to save energy, which aims to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent by 2010 from 2006 levels, has helped cut GHG emissions to a large extent.

In 2006 and 2007, optimization of industrial structure saved 147 million tons of coal equivalent, equal to 335 million tons of CO2 emission, Xie said.

And by using renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, the country saved 220 million tons of coal, equivalent to 500 million tons of CO2 emission.

China's National Climate Change Program, issued in June last year, calls for efforts to reduce 950 tons of CO2 equivalent by 2010, though as a developing country, it is not bound to meet emission cut targets under the protocol.

Xie denied reports in the foreign media that said China had overtaken the US as the world's largest GHG emitter. China's total emission is about the same as the US', and its per capita emission is only about one-fifth that of the US.

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