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Addressing Climate Change: China on the Move
----Ambassador Zhang Ping's article for The Pacific People
2015/11/26

The Pacific People Magazine issued in November 2015 published an article by Ambassador Zhang Ping entitled "Addressing Climate Change: China on the Move". The full text is as follows:

Climate change is today's common challenge faced by all humanity. Climate change has significant impacts on global natural ecosystems, causing temperature increase and sea level rise as well as more frequent extreme climate events, all of which pose a huge challenge to the survival and development of the human race. China attaches great importance to the climate change issue since long, and has been actively addressing it in a responsible attitude. China has fully incorporated addressing climate change into the overall national strategy for its social and economic development and has already taken a series of actions to explore a green and low-carbon development path that is suitable for China's national conditions, which represent a significant contribution to combating the global climate change.

As a responsible developing country, China always stands for the common interests of all humanity and actively promotes international cooperation to build an equitable global climate governance regime that is cooperative and beneficial to all. Together with other parties, China will promote the global transformation into green low-carbon and the innovation of development path. China will adhere to the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities, and urge developed countries to fulfill their obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Convention), to take the lead in substantially reducing their emissions and to provide support of finance, technology and capacity building to developing countries, allowing developing countries more equitable access to sustainable development and more support of finance, technology and capacity building and promoting cooperation between developed and developing countries. Meanwhile, China will take on international commitments that match its national circumstances, current development stage and actual capabilities by enhancing mitigation and adaptation actions and further strengthening South-South cooperation on climate change. China will establish the Fund for South-South Cooperation on Climate Change, providing assistance and support, within its means, to other developing countries including the small island developing countries, the least developed countries and African countries to address climate change.

The Pacific island countries bear the brunt of the impacts of climate change. Some of the small islands are even facing existential threat. Both being developing countries, China deeply empathizes with the Pacific island countries about the adverse effects posed by climate change and has provided assistance, within its means, to the Pacific island countries within the framework of South-South cooperation. China is willing to enhance its dialogue and exchanges with the Pacific island countries on climate change, and continue to provide more support to the Pacific island countries in terms of capacity building, policy research, project development, etc. China will do its best to actively contribute to the sustainable development and green growth of the Pacific, so as to jointly protect the Planet Earth, the only home of human beings.

The upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris marks a milestone in the global climate change governance. China is committed to strengthening the full, effective and sustained implementation of the Convention and is willing to work with other Parties to achieve a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious agreement at the Paris Conference and provide a truly effective solution to the global climate change, in the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities, as well as taking into full account of the different historic responsibilities, national conditions, development stages and capacities between developed countries and developing countries.

CHINA IS ENHANCING ITS OWN POLICIES AND MEASURES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

----By 2014, China has achieved the following:

  • Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP is 33.8% lower than the 2005 level;
  • The share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption is 11.2%;
  • The forested area and forest stock volume are increased respectively by 21.6 million hectares and 2.188 billion cubic meters compared to the 2005 levels;
  • The installed capacity of hydro power is 300 gigawatts (2.57 times of that for 2005);
  • The installed capacity of on-grid wind power is 95.81 gigawatts (90 times of that for 2005);
  • The installed capacity of solar power is 28.05 gigawatts (400 times of that for 2005); and
  • The installed capacity of nuclear power is 19.88 gigawatts (2.9 times of that for 2005).

----China submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) in June 2015, and announced its nationally determined actions by 2030 as follows:

  • To achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 and making best efforts to peak early;
  • To lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60% to 65% from the 2005 level;
  • To increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20%; and
  • To increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level.

China's intended nationally determined actions represents its best efforts in addressing climate change, based on its national conditions, development stage and overall capacities, which shows China's commitment to deeply engaging in the global climate governance and promoting sustainable development around the world.

----Green development was listed as one of the five principles in China's 13th Five-year Plan (2016-2020) on National Economic and Social Development, which clearly upholds the policy of promoting green development and improving the environment. China will take various concrete actions in this regard, including supporting green and clean production, establishing green development fund, and promoting low-carbon and circular development.

----China is committed to building low-carbon energy system.

  • To control total coal consumption, and increase the share of concentrated and highly-efficient electricity generation from coal;
  • To expand the use of natural gas; To scale up the development of hydro power, wind power and solar power; To proactively develop geothermal energy, bio-energy and maritime energy;
  • To achieve the installed capacity of wind power reaching 200 gigawatts, the installed capacity of solar power reaching around 100 gigawatts and the utilization of thermal energy reaching 50 million tons coal equivalent by 2020;

----China will adhere to a new path of industrialization, developing a circular economy, strictly controlling the total expansion of industries with extensive energy consumption and emissions, accelerating the elimination of outdated production capacity and promoting the development of service industry and strategic emerging industries; China plans to promote the share of value added from strategic emerging industries reaching 15% of the total GDP by 2020; China will steadily implement a nationwide carbon emission trading system and gradually establishing the carbon emission trading mechanism.

----China will take concrete measures to control emissions from building and transportation sectors.

  • To enhance low-carbonized urbanization, improving energy efficiency of building and the quality of building construction, intensifying energy conservation transformation for existing buildings, building energy-saving and low-carbon infrastructures;
  • To develop a green and low-carbon transportation system, optimizing means of transportation, properly allocating public transport resources in cities, giving priority to the development of public transportation and encouraging the development and use of low-carbon and environment-friendly means of transport, such as new energy vehicle and vessel.

----China will vigorously enhance afforestation, strengthen forest resource protection and reduce deforestation-related emissions, so as to increase the forest carbon sink; China will strengthen the protection and restoration of wetlands and to increase carbon storage capacity of wetlands; And continue to restore grassland from grazing land, to prevent grassland degradation, to restore vegetation of grassland.

CHINA HAS BEEN ACTIVELY PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGES

AND COOPERATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

­----China attaches great importance to international cooperation on addressing climate change. China has established bilateral working groups or ministerial-level consultations on climate change with the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, South Korea and the EU.

---- In July 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced in his address to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janerio (Rio+20 Summit) that, China would make available ¥200 million RMB (about $31.7 million USD) for a three-year international project to help small island nations, underdeveloped countries and African countries tackle climate change.

----In September 2014, Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli announced at the UN Climate Summit that, China will vigorously promote the South-South cooperation on addressing climate change, double its annual financial support on the existing basis from 2015, and set up the South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change. Apart from this, China will provide 6 million USD to support the UN Secretary General in advancing the South-South cooperation on addressing climate change.

----From 2011 to 2015, China has contributed approximately ¥400 million RMB to help small island nations, underdeveloped countries and African countries tackle climate change by providing in-kind support, technical training and other forms of assistance.

----During Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Europe in June 2015, China and the EU issued a joint statement on climate change in Brussels.

----During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the US in September 2015, President Xi and President Obama issued the second joint statement between China and the US on climate change, in which China announced that it will make available ¥20 billion RMB (about $3.1 billion USD) for setting up the China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund to support other developing countries to combat climate change.

----During French President François Hollande's to China in November 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Hollande jointly issued the "Joint Statement of Heads of State of China and France on Climate Change", in which the two presidents reaffirmed joint efforts to push for an ambitious and legally-binding Paris agreement on the basis of equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.

CHINA IS COMMITTED TO SUPPORTING THE PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES

IN ADDRESSING CLIMATE CHANGE

----In recent years, within the framework of South-South cooperation, China has undertaken a series of climate-change-related projects in the Pacific island region, such as hydropower, seawall, ecological farming, biogas technologies, etc. China makes donations to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) every year for climate change projects, and provides training opportunities on tackling natural disasters to government officials from the Pacific island region.

  • The first phase of the upgrade of PNG's Lae Port, which was constructed by the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), was completed in December 2014, boosting PNG's efforts in achieving environmentally sustainable economic growth.
  • In April 2015, the Chinese Government provided an emergency humanitarian cash assistance of $500,000 USD to the FSM for fighting Typhoon Maysak, and provided ¥30 million RMB worth of emergency relief supplies to Vanuatu after it was hit by Cyclone Pam.
  • China donated more than 4,000 sets of energy-saving LED lights and other climate change supplies to Tonga and Samoa in September and October 2015.
  • The China-aided Ocean Campus of the National University of Samoa was opened in November 2015, boosting Samoa's capacity building in ocean studies and addressing climate change.

----China and Fiji have conducted fruitful cooperation in addressing climate change. China has provided assistance to Fiji in areas like renewable energy development, disaster relief and mitigation, capacity building, etc.

  • China's participation in Fiji's development of renewable energy dates back to 1988, when China helped construct the hydropower station in Bukuya.
  • In September 2012, the Nadarivatu Hydropower station funded by China's loans was completed and incorporated into local power networks in Fiji. With an installed capacity of 45 megawatts, the station's annual power generation is around 101 million kWh, providing a big boost to the power supplies in Viti Levu of Fiji through renewable energy.
  • The Wainisavulevu Weir Raising project, which was constructed by the Chinese Contractor, Sinohydro Corporation, was officially commissioned in November 2015. The project will enable the Wainikasau Hydropower station to generate an additional 10-million units of electricity annually.
  • The Somosomo mini hydropower project funded by China's grants is progressing well, and is to be completed before the end of 2015. With an installed capacity of 700 kilowatts, the hydropower will provide more green electricity supplies in Taveuni Island.
  • The Kiuva village sea wall project funded by China's grants was completed in July 2013, protecting the local people and villages from the sea level rise.
  • In August 2014, the Red Cross Society of China donated inflatable boats, emergency kits, life jackets and other humanitarian supplies to the Fiji Red Cross Society, to strengthen its emergency response capacities.
  • During Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Fiji last November, China and Fiji signed a MOU on China's provision of goods for addressing climate change in Fiji.

China is committed to further strengthening dialogue and coordination with Fiji and other small island countries, to jointly push for a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious agreement at the Paris Conference on Climate Change, so as to safeguard the common interests of the developing countries.

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