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China can be model for climate fight, say experts

Updated: 2016-04-25 09:03
By Wang Yanfei (China Daily)

China's strong commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is vital to fully implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, which was signed by 175 countries late on Friday, experts say.

"China has made great contributions to tackling climate change in recent years and can set an example for other countries," said Su Wei, director of the National Development and Reform Commission's Climate Change Department.

His comments come after Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli, the special envoy of President Xi Jinping, signed the agreement on Friday in New York, where he said that China aims to finalize legal procedures to ratify the pact before the G20 summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, in September.

China can be model for climate fight, say experts

Several countries have yet to sign the agreement brokered in December that binds voluntary pledges from 187 countries to cut emissions. The Paris pact will be open for signatures until April 21 next year. 

To fulfill its commitment, China will have to cut carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 percent of 2005 levels by 2030, increase nonfossil fuel sources in its primary energy consumption to about 20 percent, and peak carbon emissions by 2030.

Hu Angang, an economist at Tsinghua University, said China has made the right decision to shift toward a greener and more sustainable model after 30 years of high-speed growth based on smokestack industries.

"We have witnessed how economic growth in China has gradually decoupled with consumption of primary energy since 2014. More stringent targets set for the next five years will ensure China takes further steps to cut emissions," he said, referring to the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20).

He said the central government has made unprecedented efforts by making all 10 environmental targets binding for all industry administrations and local authorities, including energy consumption and carbon emission per unit of GDP.

China's commitment in the five-year plan and its significant role in the adoption of the Paris Agreement point to more opportunities to enhance international cooperation on green development and to demonstrate leadership, Hu added.



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