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Premier WEN Jiabao Attends Copenhagen Climate Change Conference
The Copenhagen Climate Change Summit was held in Denmark on Dec. 18, 2009, at which the leaders from over 100 countries and the heads of international organizations such as the UN and its special organs were present. China’s Premier WEN Jiabao attended the summit and delivered a speech entitled Build Consensus and Strengthen Cooperation to Advance the Historical Process of Combating Climate Change, in which he comprehensively stated the standpoints, opinions, and methods of Chinese government in combating climate change.

Premier WEN said that climate change was a major global challenge. It is the common mission of the entire mankind to curb global warming and save our planet. China has taken climate change very seriously in the course of its development. Bearing in mind the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and mankind’s long-term development, China has exerted unremitting effort and made positive contribution to the fight against climate change.

China was the first developing country to adopt and implement a National Climate Change Program. In recent years, China has formulated a series of laws and regulations, making legislation an important means to address climate change.

China has made the most intensive efforts in energy conservation and pollution reduction in recent years. By the end of the first half of 2009, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP had dropped by 13% from the 2005 level, equivalent to reducing 800 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

China has enjoyed the fastest growth of new energy and renewable energy, which 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.

China has the largest area of man-made forests in the world, which has continued with the large-scale endeavor to return farmland to forest and expand afforestation. Currently, the total area of man-made forests in China has reached 54 million ha, the largest in the world.

WEN Jiabao conveyed that China has a population of 1.3 billion, and its GDP per capita has only exceeded 3,000 dollars (USD), which means that, according to the UN standard, China still has 150 million people living below the poverty line, so the task to develop economy and improve people’s livelihood is arduous. China is now at an important stage of accelerated industrialization and urbanization, and, given the predominant role of coal in the energy mix, China is confronted with special difficulty in emission reduction. However, China always regards addressing climate change as an important strategic task. Between 1990 and 2005, China’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP were reduced by 46%. Building on that, China has set the new target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40% - 45% from 2005 levels by 2020. The target will be incorporated into China’s mid- and long-term plan for national economic and social development as a mandatory one, and its implementation is subject to the supervision by law and public opinions. And China will further enhance domestic statistical, monitoring and evaluation methods, improve the way for releasing emission reduction information, increase transparency and actively engage in international exchanges, dialogue and cooperation.

Premier WEN emphasized that, to meet the climate challenge, the international community must strengthen confidence, build consensus, make vigorous effort, and enhance cooperation. And the following three principles must be always adhered to: firstly, maintain the consistency of outcomes; secondly, uphold the fairness of rules; thirdly, pay attention to the practicality of targets; fourthly, ensure the effectiveness of institutions and mechanisms.

Premier WEN finally stressed that it is with a sense of responsibility to the Chinese people and the whole mankind that the Chinese government has set the target for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. This is a voluntary action China has taken in the light of its national circumstances. We have not attached any condition to the target, nor have we linked it to the target of any other country. 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.

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