Results at climate change conference


Madam, – “Common but differentiated responsibilities” is the key to the success of the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. The Chinese government attaches great importance to the climate change issue and this conference, and Premier Wen Jiabao will attend.

To help the conference achieve tangible results, the Chinese government has recently announced its targets for 2020 based on 2005 levels. They include: bringing down CO2 per unit of GDP by 40-45 per cent, increasing the ratio of non-fossil energy to 15 per cent, and expanding forest coverage by 40 million hectares.

The targets embody the best efforts China could make, fully demonstrate the most sincere will of the 1.3 billion Chinese people to tackle climate change, and show that the Chinese government is taking concrete actions to push forward the Bali Road Map negotiations so as to help produce positive results in Copenhagen.

China is a developing country with per capita GDP just exceeding $3,000. According to the UN standard, there are still 150 million people living in poverty. Meanwhile, China’s energy structure is dominated by coal, which puts huge pressure on the country and makes it especially difficult for it to control greenhouse gas emissions.

China’s targets are no less ambitious than those of any developed country. From 1990 to 2005, CO2 emission intensity per unit of GDP of all developed countries dropped only by 26 per cent, China dropped by 46 per cent.

The issue of climate change is the common challenge now facing the international community. It is the Chinese government’s position that the basic principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” should be upheld by the international community to tackle the challenge.

It should be understood that the long period of industrialisation of the developed countries is the root cause of today’s climate change. During the 155 years from 1850 to 2005, the world has discharged 1.1222 trillion tons of CO2, of which, 806.5 billion tons or 72 per cent, came from developed countries. According to 2006 survey of global emission, the per capita emission by developed countries is almost four times that of developing countries. The Kyoto Protocol stipulates that developed countries must reduce emissions collectively by 5.2 per cent during the period of 2008-2012 on 1990 basis.

In fact, most developed countries have increased, not reduced emissions. On the other hand, the developed countries have promised funds and technology transfer to developing countries, but for the past 20 years little or no action has been taken.

Whether from the point of view of historical responsibility, or reality, whether in terms of treaty obligations or capability, the developed countries should unconditionally continue to take the lead to cut emission by a big margin after 2012, and fulfil their obligations in providing funds and transferring technology to developing countries so as to increase the developing countries’ ability to cope with climate change. Empty talk about international co-operation, in disregard of historical responsibility and facts, or talk only about the so-called shared responsibility, will not convince the world. Developing countries should make a contribution within their own powers by implementing sustainable development strategies.

To make the Copenhagen conference a success, we must adhere to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, stick to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and follow the Bali roadmap mandate.

The Chinese people value “promise must be delivered and action must be resolute”. China’s voluntary reduction targets do not attach any conditions; it is not linked to any other country’s action. China will never, ever, renew the old-road “pollute first, correct later” and “luxurious emissions” of developed countries. We will reach our emission reduction targets and achieve sustainable development with a responsible attitude to the environment and mankind. – Yours, etc,


Chinese Ambassador to Ireland,

Chinese Embassy in Ireland,

Ailesbury Road, Dublin 4.