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Highlights: Why China's climate pledges matter?
2015/07/05

1. What is INDC?

China on Tuesday unveiled its Enhanced Actions on Climate Change: China's Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC), a long-awaited action plan submitted to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The plan, composed of three parts, lays out the country's ambitious targets in its "utmost efforts" in tackling climate change beyond 2020 as well as concrete implementation policies and measures.

2. What are China's pledges?

In the INDC, China vows to

- achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 & make best efforts to peak early;

- lower CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60% - 65% from the 2005 level by 2030, a big step further from its 40%-45% goal for 2020;

- raise the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20%, an increase from the 15% goal for 2020;

- increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level, a large increase compared to the 2020 goal of 1.3 billion cubic meters.

To fulfill its climate pledges, China's total investment in low-carbon industries in the coming 16 years is estimated to exceed 40 trillion yuan (6.45 trillion U.S. dollars).

The graphic shows what China's achieve by 2014. (Xinhua/Zhang Hui)

3. Why does China release INDC?

China's move came amid calls for faster progress on climate talks ahead of a key UN conference in Paris late this year, when the UN hopes the international community will reach a new, universally binding climate pact with a long-term goal of limiting the maximum global average temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

All parties are expected to submit their INDCs before the Paris meeting. However, as of Monday, only 39 countries of the 196 parties to the convention had submitted their INDCs, according to the UNFCCC website.

Acting on climate change is also driven by China's domestic needs to ensure economic and ecological security, as well as by its sense of responsibility to fully engage in global governance.

4. Why does China's INDC matter?

As the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, even small decreases in China's emission means a lot at global level compared to other countries. China's active participation and cooperation will also provide strong support for global emission reduction and push more countries to adopt concrete climate actions.

With China officially announcing INDC, the world's three largest emitters, including the United States and the European Union have all made commitments ahead of the Paris Summit. The United States has announced a target of cutting its emissions by 26% - 28% from its 2005 level by 2025, while the EU eyes a reduction of at least 40% by 2030 on the basis of the 1990 level.

5. How does the world react to Chinas INDC?

China's INDC won wide welcome from foreign countries, among whom the United States said on Tuesday the move is conducive to reaching a key global climate agreement at the end of this year in Paris.

The move was also widely reported and discussed on twitter.

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