China unveils new, ambitious climate goals

Updated: 2015-06-30 22:36


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China unveils new, ambitious climate goals

Smoke rises from facilities at a thermal power plant in North China's Hebei province.[Photo/IC]

BEIJING - China on Tuesday made fresh pledges on fighting climate change, setting out ambitious targets beyond 2020 in what it calls its "utmost efforts" in tackling the global challenge.

The world's largest greenhouse gas emitter aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 60 percent to 65 percent from the 2005 level by 2030, according to China's intended nationally determined contributions (INDC), an action plan submitted to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

That goal will be a big step further from China's previous emission control target, which eyes a decrease of 40 percent to 45 percent from the 2015 level by 2020.

In 2014, carbon emissions per unit of GDP was 33.8 percent lower than the 2005 level.

The enhanced actions "represent its (China's) utmost efforts in addressing climate change," the INDC said.

Acting on climate change is driven by China's domestic needs to ensure economic and ecological security, as well as by its sense of responsibility to fully engage in global governance, according to the document.

China's move came amid calls for faster progress on climate talks ahead of a key UN conference in Paris late this year, when the UN hopes the international community will reach a new, universally binding climate pact with a long-term goal of limiting the maximum global average temperature increase to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

All parties are expected to submit their INDCs before the Paris meeting. However, as of Monday, only 39 countries of the 196 parties to the convention had submitted their INDCs, according to the UNFCCC website.

Speaking at a high-level UN meeting on Monday, China's special representative on climate change Xie Zhenhua said "there is very little time between now and the Paris conference", urging all parties to submit their INDCs and strengthen the implementation.

China's pledges also added spotlight to the climate issue on the agenda of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's trip to Europe.

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