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Working together to respond to climate change
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17:36, July 08, 2008

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Leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) are conferring with their counterparts from developing countries in Toyako in Japan's northernmost island of Hokkado. The summit is being called the environmental summit as the environment and climate change are among its main themes, though global financial markets, soaring oil and food prices and aid to Africa are also topics for discussion during the summit. This is also because Japan, the host of the ongoing summit, focuses on environment protection to build up the nation.

As far as greenhouse gas emissions are concerned, Japan expressed the hope to urge the United States to take more responsible approach and actions through dialogue among nations and the active participation of China and India in global greenhouse gas emissions reduction.

Japan has been active in the environmental protection over recent years. Last year, it set forth the "Cool Earth Promotion Program", which is a concrete action plan to bring about the halving of global greenhouse gas emission by 2050, as stated in the "Cool Earth 50" initiative it proposed in 2007. This Program will be implemented through three parts: a Post-Kyoto Framework, International Environment Cooperation and Innovation. Japan has proposed this grand goal for all countries of the world to achieve together.

Although it did not set the concrete mid-term target then, Japan instead devised a principle for the attainment of the mid-term goal, namely, to establish a framework involving major greenhouse gas emitting nations, which emphasizes both environmental protection and economic growth, and employs flexible, diversified ways in the light of specific national circumstance in different countries.

To this end, Japan is working hard to set up a "new funding mechanism"to advance its cooperation with developing countries in the sphere of climate change and jointly tackle problems arising from climate change and raise the utilization efficiency of energy on a global scale.

Cooperation in environmental protection poses a bright spot in the forging of the mutually-beneficial strategical bilateral ties between China and Japan. In the process of its steady economic growth, China has upgraded its capacity of responding to climate change to its strategic height, unswervingly embarks on the road of sustainable development, and adopts more forceful policy measures to ensure its sustainable development. On its part, Japan is one of the nations with the highest energy utilization rate. So the two nations have broad prospects for bilateral cooperation in the sphere of energy conservation.

In the China-Japan Joint Statement on Further Enhancement of Cooperation for Environmental Protection signed in April last year, both sides agreed to cooperate in the spheres relating to the prevention of water pollutions, the establishment of "cycle economy" pioneering zone, the containment of pollutants emission into the atmosphere, the control of acid rains and shifting sand, the desulphurization and de-nitration in coal-use thermal power plants and the wide spread of environmental protection knowledge.

Meanwhile, both sides, keeping to the principle of sharing differentiation in the framework of the "Kyoto Protocol", have taken an active part in building an effective framework for greenhouse gas emission reduction from 2013 onward.

Moreover, the Joint Statement on Climate Change between China and Japan was signed in May this year; both sides confirmed in it that climate change is one of the greatest challenges to humanity in the 21st century, and the two nations should work together in cooperation to help cope with it. At the same time, both sides decided to conduct technological cooperation in saving energy and raising its efficiency, developing new and renewable energy sources, retooling the equipment of the coal-use thermal power plants and stepping up carbon dioxide recovery and storage. China highly appraises the international cooperation in which Japan has provided fund aid for developing countries in response to climate change. The Japanese side also appreciates China for the policy measures it has adopted in this regard, and promises to offer it help in carrying out its National Action Plan to respond to climate change.

To date, China is still in the phase of industrialization and should not be taken on par with the post-industry-era developed nations in term of gas emission abatement. China, however, as a responsible nation, shall exert itself to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in compliance with the principle of sharing differentiation. With this stance, China is determined to cooperate with all countries, including Japan, and accelerate the transition to low-carbon society for the achievement for long-term goals, which is both resources conserving and eco-friendly, to materialize the "low carbon economy" and "cycle economy" and to spur the coordinated development of both economic growth and environmental protection with a prop of the advanced science and technology.

By People's Daily Online and its author is Wang Ping, a noted researcher with the Institute of Japan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

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