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China addresses climate change - 11 Nov 09  

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'Global cooperation is vital to address climate change'

Wang Guangtao is chairman, China's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee on Environment and Resources Protection. At a GLOBE International meeting of legislators in Copenhagen, the former minister of construction tells Narayani Ganesh that climate change is a big challenge and even more so is the challenge of sustainable development:

What is the biggest challenge China faces in dealing with environmental and social issues in the context of climate change?


The biggest challenge is how to achieve sustainable development without compromising economic growth. And how to deal with the issue of climate change. The challenge is in finding ways of sourcing clean energy and adopting conservation techniques as well as getting ahead with great political will. As legislators, we need to fulfil our responsibilities and accomplish our goals on addressing climate change through domestic action and so make success possible in intergovernmental negotiations.


India and China signed an MOU recently with reference to climate change. Is it only about negotiating together at global meets or is it also about sharing of experience and technology?

I cannot say anything about this right now as i was not present in that meeting.

On the domestic front, what has China done to overcome the problems of climate change?

China's NPC has recently adopted a resolution to address the issue of climate change. The issue presents a major opportunity for, as well as challenge to, China's economic and social development. The resolution also says that what China needs is a scientific outlook on development and concrete measures would need to be adopted to address the issue of climate change. For this, the rule of law has to be strengthened. Public awareness plays an important role as it will lead to conscious effort to increase our capacity to address climate change. International cooperation is necessary, too. Good regulation and supervision need to be supported by respect for law. We propose to implement earnestly the energy conservation law, the renewable energy promotion law, the law of circular economy, laws that promote cleaner production, and laws pertaining to forests and grassland.

China's 11th five-year plan on national economic and social development sets targets for energy conservation and pollution reduction. Regulatory teams that are engaged in supervision and regulation to aid implementation of the law report some measure of success. China, on the basis of such reports, has recently shut down many small-scale highly-polluting enterprises. For example, many small-scale coal-fired power plants have been shut down since 2006, when the outline of the 11th five-year plan was approved. China is investing in the promotion of wind, solar and hydropower and has achieved good progress in use of wind and solar power.

What does China think of the US Bill on climate change that's awaiting Senate approval?

The biggest change can be seen in the US approach to climate change with President Barack Obama's positive attitude. We will have to wait and see if the Bill is passed and what it means in practice.


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Source: The Times of India