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Speech at the EastWest Institute Seminar by H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe, Head of the Mission of the P.R.China to the EU
Tackle Climate Change Actively and Promote Sustainable Development

16 February 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen:

     I am very pleased to be at this meeting and exchange views with you. I would like to take this opportunity to make three points: first, the Copenhagen Conference was a new starting point to tackle climate change; Secondly, the international community should give adequate attention to the issue of adaptation; Thirdly, China and the EU should strengthen dialogue and cooperation on climate change.
    We still have fresh memories of the Copenhagen Conference which was held two months ago. Although the meeting experienced twists and turns, but thanks to the joint efforts of all parties, it ultimately obtained two important results. First, by adhering to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Bali road map, the conference identified clearly the direction for the negotiations in the next step; Secondly, the conference issued the Copenhagen Accord, marking new progress in terms of binding reduction by developed countries and voluntary action by developing countries. It also reached certain consensus on issues such as long-term goals, funding, technology and transparency, which laid the foundation for further strengthening international cooperation on climate change and gave political impetus to future negotiations. It is fair to say that the Copenhagen conference was a success. It produced the best result that can be achieved at this stage, which should be cherished.
    On tackling climate change, the road is long and tortuous. The Copenhagen Conference is not the end, but a new beginning. In recent weeks, there are nearly one hundred countries which notified the Secretariat of the Copenhagen Accord their respective emission reduction or mitigation targets. A series of important international conferences will be held in Bonn and Mexico this year. As a responsible member of the international community, China will continue to play an active and constructive role, earnestly fulfill its commitment, strengthen international cooperation, and with the Copenhagen Accord as the basis, work together with other parties for an early conclusion of the "Bali road map", so as to promote continuous progress of the international cooperation on climate change.
    Recently, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao sent letters to Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and stated that China supports the Copenhagen Accord. Premier Wen reiterates that China will strive to achieve national voluntary reduction targets, that is, by 2020, carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will drop by 40% to 45% than 2005, non-fossil energy will account for about 15% of primary energy consumption, forest area will increase by 40 million hectares over 2005 and stock volume sink by 1.3 billion cubic meters. This is a voluntary action China takes according to its own national conditions and stage of development, it is not attached to any conditions, or links to other country's emission reduction targets. It reflects the maximum efforts that the Chinese government can make.
    Here, I would like to highlight that China is still a developing country. It is in the critical stage of rapid development of  industrialization and urbanization. We are facing an arduous task of economic development and improving people's livelihood. China's per capita GDP ranks after the world's first 100. By the UN standard, 150 million Chinese remain in poverty. Every year jobs for 12 million people need to be created, even more than the entire population of Belgium. In addition, China's coal-dominated energy mix poses special difficulties to emission reduction.

Even so, the Chinese Government has always taken a responsible attitude towards the nation and mankind, and takes climate change as an important strategic task. To use a metaphor, we want mountains of gold and silver, but first of all we want mountains of trees. China will not repeat the model of "pollution first, treatment later" as it was in the history of the developed countries. China will set its own mitigation targets as compulsory targets of the national economic and social development plan and make efforts to meet our committed targets and do even more. We will unswervingly pursue sustainable development and honor our commitment by taking concrete actions.

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    Mitigation and adaptation are two integral aspects in tackling climate change. Mitigation is a relatively longer-term and challenging task, whereas adaptation is more immediate and urgent. The core of adaptation is funding. The UNFCCC explicitly stipulates the obligation on the part of developed countries to provide funding and technology to developing countries. At present, the international community has established a number of multilateral financing mechanisms, including the Least Developed Countries Fund. But frankly speaking, the international community's emphasis on adaptation is far from enough. The funds that are available and can really be put in place by the existing mechanisms are very limited, and falling far short of the actual needs and expectations from the developing countries.
    The international community should give more attention to adaptation. It's been wrong that we put so much emphasis on mitigation but so little on adaptation. The developed countries, in particular, should shoulder the responsibility, and in accordance with the Convention, deliver their promises to developing countries on financial and technology support. The Copenhagen Conference, having reached a preliminary consensus on the issue of funding, represented a step in the right direction. However, the Accord does not clearly specify the sources of funding in the short term or how they are going to be implemented. Neither does it stipulate the exact amount of long-term funding commitment of the countries concerned. There leaves much uncertainty. We hope that the developed countries will demonstrate political sincerity and take concrete action to fulfill its obligations, rather than evading or shifting to others their responsibilities.
    Ladies and gentlemen,
    China-EU cooperation on climate change is already a long story. As early as in 2005, the two sides established partnership on climate change. At the 12th China-EU Summit last year, the two sides decided to upgrade such partnership and strengthen policy dialogue and practical cooperation in the field of climate change. Following the Copenhagen Conference, the two sides plan to add an extra round of consultations on climate change which will take place in the near future. The EU possess advanced concepts and technologies in the field of energy saving and environmental protection. China has a vast market demand. The two sides should further tap the potentials for cooperation on energy and climate change, especially in the following areas:
    First, energy conservation and energy efficiency. China's energy utilization efficiency is far lower than the EU and other developed countries, and China needs to further reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP.
    The second area is renewable energy. By cooperation under the Clean Development Mechanism, the EU could help China to promote renewable energy development, improve energy structure, and strengthen social environmental awareness.
    The third area is clean energy. For quite a long time in the future, China's energy production and consumption will continue to be dominated by coal, which present us a vast platform for technical cooperation.
    Ladies and Gentlemen:
    The EU is the world's biggest economy, and China is the world's biggest developing country. To strengthen practical cooperation between China and the EU on climate change, and sustainable development not only serves the fundamental interests of both sides, but is also conducive to world prosperity and development. We are willing to cooperate with all communities in the EU and make unremitting efforts to cope with climate change and achieve sustainable development.
    Thank you!

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