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Full Text of Chinese Premier's Address at Copengagen Climate Change Summit

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Dear Colleagues,

To meet the climate challenge, the international community must strengthen confidence, build consensus, make vigorous effort and enhance cooperation. And we must always adhere to the following three principles:

First, maintaining the consistency of outcomes:

The campaign against climate change has not just started. In fact, the international community has been engaged in this endeavor for decades. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol are the outcomes of long and hard work by all countries. They reflect the broad consensus among all parties and serve as the legal basis and guide for international cooperation on climate change. And as such, they must be highly valued and further strengthened and developed. The outcome of this conference must stick to rather than obscure the basic principles enshrined in the Convention and the Protocol. It must follow rather than deviate from the mandate of the "Bali Roadmap". It should lock up rather than deny the consensus and progress already achieved in the negotiations.

Second, upholding the fairness of rules:

The principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities "represents the core and bedrock of international cooperation on climate change and it must never be compromised. Developed countries account for 80 percent of the total global carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago. If we all agree that carbon dioxide emissions are the direct cause for climate change, then it is all too clear who should take the primary responsibility. Developing countries only started industrialization a few decades ago and many of their people still live in abject poverty today. It is totally unjustified to ask them to undertake emission reduction targets beyond their due obligations and capabilities in disregard of historical responsibilities, per capita emissions and different levels of development. Developed countries, which are already leading an affluent life, still maintain a level of per capita emissions that is far higher than that of developing countries, and most of their emissions are attributed to consumption. In comparison, emissions from developing countries are primarily survival emissions and international transfer emissions. Today, 2.4 billion people in the world still rely on coal, charcoal, and stalks as main fuels, and 1.6 billion people have no access to electricity. Action on climate change must be taken within the framework of sustainable development and should by no means compromise the efforts of developing countries to get rid of poverty and backwardness. Developed countries must take the lead in making deep quantified emission cuts and provide financial and technological support to developing countries. This is an unshirkable moral responsibility as well as a legal obligation that they must fulfill. Developing countries should, with the financial and technological support of developed countries, do what they can to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change in the light of their national conditions.

And third, paying attention to the practicality of the targets:

There is a Chinese proverb which goes, "A one-thousand-mile journey starts with the first step." Similarly, there is a saying in the West which reads, "Rome was not built in one day." In tackling climate change, we need to take a long-term perspective, but more importantly, we should focus on the present. The Kyoto Protocol has clearly set out the emission reduction targets for developed countries in the first commitment period by 2012. However, a review of implementation shows that the emissions from many developed countries have increased rather than decreased. And the mid-term reduction targets recently announced by developed countries fall considerably short of the requirements of the Convention and the expectations of the international community. Itis necessary to set a direction for our long-term efforts, but it is even more important to focus on achieving near-term and mid-term reduction targets, honoring the commitments already made and taking real action. One action is more useful than a dozen programs. We should give people hope by taking credible actions.

Fourth, ensure the effectiveness of institutions and mechanisms:

Concrete actions and institutional guarantee are essential to our effort on tackling climate change. The international community should make concrete and effective institutional arrangements under the Convention and urge developed countries to honor their commitments, provide sustained and sufficient financial support to developing countries, speed up the transfer of climate-friendly technologies and effectively help developing countries, especially small island states, least developed countries, landlocked countries and African countries, strengthen their capacity in combating climate change.

I wish to conclude by underlining that it is with a sense of responsibility to the Chinese people and the whole mankind that the Chinese government has set the target for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. This is a voluntary action China has taken in the light of its national circumstances. We have not attached any condition to the target, nor have we linked it to the target of any other country. We will honor our word with real action. Whatever outcome this conference may produce, we will be fully committed to achieving and even exceeding the target.

Thank you.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2009)

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