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Chinese legislature endorses climate change resolution
2009/08/27

China's top legislature approved Thursday, Aug. 27 afternoon a resolution on climate change, ahead of an international conference in December in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The resolution of "actively dealing with climate change" was endorsed by lawmakers at the closing meeting of a four-day session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature.

It will accelerate the country's attempts to tackle the pressing challenge of global warming and signals a proactive role for China in negotiating possible solutions to curtailing emissions.

The resolution says: "With a spirit of being highly responsible for the survival and long-term development of mankind, China will continue constructively participating in international conferences and negotiations on climate change, and advance comprehensive, effective and sustained implementation of the international convention and its protocol."

It says China "as a developing country" will firmly "maintain the right to development," and opposes "any form of trade protectionism disguised as tackling climate change."

Developed nations should "take the lead in quantifying their reductions of emissions" and honor their commitments to "support developing countries with funds and technology transfers," it says.

"Since the Industrial Revolution, the activities of mankind, especially economic activities of developed nations during their industrialization process, have been a major cause of climate change," the resolution says.

It says cooperative international efforts, for example, between governments and legislative bodies, should be promoted. This would strengthen multilateral exchanges and negotiations and enhance mutual understanding.

The resolution says China will adhere to "the basic framework" set up in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), signed by more than 150 countries in 1992, and the Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997 by the majority of the international community to set binding targets for developed countries to reduce CO2 emissions, and the principles of UNFCCC-endorsed "common but differentiated responsibilities" as well as "sustainable development."

It says the country must commit to energy saving and emissions reductions by promoting energy-efficient technology and products, exploiting renewable and clean energy, developing a recycling economy and further advancing a forestation and forestry carbon sequestration.

"We must improve monitoring and early warning systems and prepare ourselves well against extreme weather and climate disasters," it says.

The resolution says China should make carbon reduction a new source of economic growth, and change its economic development model to maximize efficiency, lower energy consumption and minimize carbon discharges.

It says efforts should be made to improve laws on environmental protection and climate change, such as the Energy Conservation Law, Renewable Energy Law, Circular Economy Promotion Law, Cleaner Production Promotion Law, Forest Law and Grassland Law.

The resolution says the NPC Standing Committee should strengthen supervision of enforcement of these laws to better deal with global warming.

Xie Zhenhua, the country's top representative in international climate change negotiations, told lawmakers on Monday that China would "do its best with utmost sincerity" to push for the success of the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen, which is to be attended by more than 190 nations having signed the UNFCCC, and is expected to negotiate a follow-up to the Kyoto Protocol.

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