Build Consensus and Strengthen Cooperation
To Advance the Historical Process of Combating Climate Change
Address by H.E. Wen Jiabao
Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
At the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit
Copenhagen, 18 December 2009
Prime Minister Rasmussen, Dear Colleagues,
At this very moment, billions of people across the world are following closely what is happening here in Copenhagen. The will that we express and the commitments that we make here should help push forward mankind's historical process of combating climate change. Standing at this podium, I am deeply aware of the heavy responsibility.
Climate change is a major global challenge. It is the common mission of the entire mankind to curb global warming and save our planet. It is incumbent upon all of us, each and every country, nation, enterprise and individual to act, and act now in response to this challenge.
The past 30 years have seen remarkable progress in China’s modernization drive.
Let me share with you here that China has taken climate change very seriously in the course of its development. Bearing in mind the fundamental interests of the Chinese people and mankind's long-term development, we have exerted unremitting effort and made positive contribution to the fight against climate change.
China was the first developing country to adopt and implement a National Climate Change Program. We have formulated or revised the Energy Conservation
Law, Renewable Energy Law, Circular Economy Promotion Law, Clean Production Promotion Law, Forest Law, Grassland Law and Regulations on Civil Building Efficiency. Laws and regulations have been an important means for us to address climate change.
China has made the most intensive efforts in energy conservation and pollution reduction in recent years. We have improved the taxation system and
advanced the pricing reform of resource products with a view to putting in place at an early date a pricing mechanism that is responsive to market supply and demand, resource scarcity level and the cost of environmental damage. We have introduced 10 major energy conservation projects and launched an energy conservation campaign involving 1,000 enterprises, bringing energy-saving action to industry, transportation, construction and other key sectors. We have implemented pilot projects on circular economy, promoted energy-saving and environment-friendly vehicles and supported the use of energy-saving products by ordinary households with government subsidies. We have worked hard to phase out backward production facilities that are energy
intensive and heavily polluting. The inefficient production capacity that China eliminated between 2006and 2008 stood at 60.59 million tons for iron, 43.47 million tons of steel, 140 million tons for cement and 64.45 million tons for coke. By the end of the first half of this year, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP had dropped
by 13 percent from the 2005 level, equivalent to reducing 800 million tons of carbon dioxide.
-- China has enjoyed the fastest growth of new energy and renewable energy. On the basis of protecting the eco-environment, we have developed hydro power in an orderly way, actively developed nuclear power, and encouraged and supported the development of renewable energy including biomass, solar and geothermal energy and wind power in the countryside, remote areas and other places with the proper conditions. Between 2005 and 2008,renewable energy increased by 51 percent, representing an annual growth rate of 14.7 percent. In 2008, the use of renewable energy reached an equivalent of 250 million tons of standard coal. A total of 30.5 million rural households gained access to bio-gas, equivalent to a reduction of 49 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. China ranked first in the world in terms of installed hydro power capacity, nuclear power capacity under construction, the coverage of solar water heating panels and photovoltaic power capacity.
-- China has the largest area of man-made forests in the world. We have
continued with the large-scale endeavor to return to farmland to forest and expand a forestation, and made vigorous effort to increase forest carbon sink. Between 2003 and 2008, China’s forest coverage registered a net increase of 20.54 million hectares and forest stock volume rose by 1.123 billion cubic meters. The total area of man-made forests in China
China has a 1.3 billion population and its per capita GDP has only exceeded 3,000 U.S. dollars. According to the U.N. standards, we still have 150 million people living below the poverty line and we therefore face the arduous task of developing the economy and improving people’s livelihood. China is now at an important stage of
accelerated industrialization and urbanization, and, given the predominant role of coal in our energy mix, we are confronted with special difficulty in emission reduction. However, we have always regarded addressing climate change as an important strategic task. Between 1990 and 2005, China’s carbon dioxide emissions per unit of
GDP were reduced by 46 percent. Building on that, we have set the new target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level. To reduce carbon dioxide emissions on such a large scale and over such an extended period of time will require tremendous efforts on our part. Our target will be incorporated into China's mid-and-long term plan for national economic and social development as a mandatory one to ensure that its implementation is subject to the supervision by the law and public opinions. We will further enhance the domestic-statistical, monitoring and evaluation methods, improve the way for releasing emission reduction information, increase transparency and actively engage in international exchange, dialogue and cooperation.