Cli­mate law sum­mit gets started in DC

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

China has been tak­ing dras­tic ac­tion and draft­ing more ac­tion plans to com­bat global cli­mate change and se­ri­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­lu­tion at home, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior Chi­nese en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cial.

China — the world’s largest car­bon emit­ter — is com­mit­ted to cut­ting its car­bon diox­ide emis­sions per unit by 40 to 50 per­cent by 2020, on the ba­sis of 2005 lev­els, Xie Zhen­hua, vice-chair­man of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion, said in a pre­pared video speech shown to the two-day 2nd GLOBE Cli­mate Leg­is­la­tion Sum­mit which kicked off in Wash­ing­ton on Thurs­day.

Pre­lim­i­nary sta­tis­tics show that China’s car­bon emis­sion per unit dropped by 28.5 per­cent in 2013 from the 2005 level. It means a re­duc­tion of 2.3 bil­lion tons of car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. Mean­while, China has also be­come one of the leading pro­duc­ers of wind, so­lar and hy­dropower in the world.

Xie said that as a de­vel­op­ing coun­try, China is faced with mul­ti­ple chal­lenges in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, poverty erad­i­ca­tion and cli­mate and en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, and the Chi­nese govern­ment is com­mit­ted to ex­plor­ing a green, cir­cu­lar and low­car­bon de­vel­op­ment path.

“The Chi­nese govern­ment has made cli­mate change re­sponse a key na­tional strat­egy for eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment, and launched a se­ries of suc­cess­ful ac­tions at home,” he said.

Xie said China is also com­mit­ted to pre­par­ing for the na­tional post-2020 ac­tion plan to ad­dress cli­mate change through con­sul­ta­tion and mak­ing a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to the global cli­mate re­sponse af­ter 2020.

The coun­try will es­tab­lish a tar­get re­spon­si­bil­ity sys­tem for car­bon in­ten­sity re­duc­tion in or­der to reach the goal. It has also been pro­mot­ing low-car­bon de­vel­op­ment pilot­ing and demon­stra­tion.

Xie said China has also been pro­mot­ing low-car­bon con­cept in the na­tion’s mas­sive ur­ban­iza­tion pro­gram and push­ing for­ward the pi­lot pro­grams in car­bon trad­ing, which has been launched in the cities of Bei­jing, Shang­hai, Tian­jin, Guangzhou and Shen­zhen.

“China is com­mit­ted to cli­mate leg­is­la­tion,” he said.

The 2nd GLOBE Cli­mate Leg­is­la­tion Sum­mit gath­ered more than 100 se­nior na­tional leg­is­la­tors from 50 coun­tries along with the heads of key in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions, such as those un­der the United Na­tions and the World Bank.

More than 500 na­tional laws have so far been passed in 66 coun­tries cov­ered in a study by the GLOBE In­ter­na­tional and the Gran­tham Re­search In­sti­tute at the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics, ac­cord­ing to Terry Town­shend, di­rec­tor of pol­icy and deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of GLOBE In­ter­na­tional, a global or­ga­ni­za­tion of leg­is­la­tors. The 66 coun­tries ac­count for 88 per­cent of global emis­sions.

Much of the sub­stan­tive progress on leg­isla­tive ac­tiv­ity on cli­mate change in 2013 took place in emerg­ing economies, in­clud­ing China and Mex­ico, which will pro­vide the mo­tor of global eco­nomic growth in com­ing decades, ac­cord­ing to the study.

While cur­rent na­tional leg­is­la­tion does not yet add up to what needs to be done to avoid dan­ger­ous cli­mate change, it is putting in place the mech­a­nisms to mea­sure, re­port and ver­ify emis­sions, a pre­req­ui­site for a cred­i­ble global cli­mate treaty, the study says.

China has been praised for mak­ing sub­stan­tive progress and pos­i­tive ad­vances in cli­mate leg­is­la­tion in 2013. The re­port praised China for pub­lish­ing the Na­tional Adap­ta­tion Plan and mak­ing progress in draft­ing its na­tional cli­mate change law.

Town­shend, who is based in Bei­jing, praised China’s leg­isla­tive ap­proach to ad­dress­ing com­pre­hen­sive and over­ar­ch­ing is­sues, cit­ing the coun­try’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015).

UN As­sis­tant Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Robert Orr said the world starts to or­ga­nize a new cli­mate agree­ment not only be­cause of the need for a global agree­ment by 2015 but also be­cause of what has hap­pened in the world, re­fer­ring to the UN Cli­mate Con­fer­ence to be held in Paris next year, when the world needs to reach a new agree­ment on cli­mate change.

“Ex­treme weather is pound­ing our planet in ev­ery part of the planet,” he said.

Orr be­lieves re­spond­ing to cli­mate change also means great op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Businesses around the world, north, south, east and west, are all start­ing to see op­por­tu­ni­ties in re­spond­ing to cli­mate change. This is new. And gov­ern­ments are mo­bi­liz­ing. At the United Na­tions, we see in­creased ac­tiv­i­ties from gov­ern­ments all over the world,” he said.

“It is not just Bei­jing and Brussels, and Brasilia, from Wash­ing­ton to Honolulu, we are see­ing se­ri­ous and real ef­forts across coun­tries,” Orr said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.