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Premier Expresses China's Sincerity at UN Climate Conference

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The premier said China faced the arduous task of developing the economy and improving people's livelihoods.

"China is now at an important stage of accelerated industrialization and urbanization, and, given the predominant role of coal in our energy mix, we are confronted with a special difficulty in emissions reduction," Wen said.

However, China had always regarded addressing climate change as an important strategic task, he said, adding that, between 1990and 2005, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP were reduced by 46 percent.

"Building on that, we have set the new target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level," Wen told delegates from all across the world.

"To reduce carbon dioxide emissions on such a large scale and over such an extended period of time will require tremendous efforts on our part. Our target will be incorporated into China's mid- and long-term plan for national economic and social development as a mandatory one to ensure that its implementation is subject to supervision by the law and public opinion," Wen said.

"We will further enhance the domestic statistical, monitoring and evaluation methods, improve the way emissions reduction information is released, increase transparency and actively engage in international exchange, dialogue and cooperation," the Chinese premier said.

He stressed that the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" was the core and bedrock of international cooperation on climate change and must never be compromised.

He pointed out that developed countries were responsible for 80percent 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," he said.

Developing countries only started industrialization a few decades ago and many of their people still live in abject poverty today, Wen said, "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, Wen said.

In comparison, emissions from developing countries were primarily survival emissions and international transfer emissions, the Chinese premier said.

"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," so any 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, he said.

Wen urged developed countries to take the lead in making deep quantified emission cuts and provide financial and technological support to developing countries as "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 light of their national conditions, Wen said.

The UN conference, which opened on December 7, is to end later in the day. It aims to map out a comprehensive international arrangement for the fight against climate change over the period 2012-2020.

(Xinhua News Agency December 19, 2009)

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