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Addressing climate change

(China Daily)

15:52, November 23, 2011

Never assume that mitigating climate change is beyond our ability. This is the attitude of the Chinese government, which sees climate change as a major issue concerning the country's overall economic and social development and a common concern for the international community.

The white paper outlining China's policies and actions for addressing climate change, which was published on Tuesday, describes the positive results achieved in promoting low-carbon development during 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) period: the country's energy consumption per unit of GDP dropped 19.1 percent from that of 2005 accumulatively, which is equivalent to a reduction of 1.46 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

It also sets out the objectives and tasks for addressing climate change during the next five years: carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP will be reduced by 17 percent and energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent as compared with 2010, and the capacity of carbon sinks will be increased to control greenhouse gas emissions. The acreage of new forests will increase by 12.5 million hectares.

For such a populous developing country as China, the conflict between economic growth and environmental protection has never been so intense.

That 70 percent of China's rivers have been polluted to different degrees reveals the propensity of many local governments to prioritize economic growth at the expense of environmental protection during the last two decades.

That explains why the central government put forward the task of changing the economic growth pattern in 2007 in order to realize sustainable development.

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