Environment

China reasserts commitment to addressing climate change

BY ALPHEA SAUNDERS
Senior staff reporter
saundersa@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 30, 2019

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BEIJING, China — Government officials in the People's Republic of China (PRC) yesterday restated that country's position on climate change, re-emphasising as it did at the recently held United Nations climate change action summit, that China attaches great importance on addressing the global challenge.

Minister, and secretary of the Leading Party Members' Group of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Li Ganjie, has pointed out that in recent years China has made a number of effective efforts to address climate change.

He highlighted, for example, that emissions were lowered by 45.8 per cent since 2005, and that forest reserves have been significantly increased, with China's forestation now accounting for a quarter of newly added forestation globally.

Li was speaking at a news conference at the press centre for the founding of the 70th anniversary of the PRC in Beijing on Sunday.

The PRC is hosting journalists from 89 developing countries as a part of an ongoing media cooperation programme administered by the China International Press Communication Centre.

Li further refuted arguments that China is pursuing its development agenda with little attention to its role in the challenges presented by climate change.

He stressed that China still faces its own hurdles as it pursues its development agenda, but will still pursue its obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and will be taking further steps to mitigating climate change.

Meanwhile, Li outlined the ecological conservation and environmental protection mechanisms set in motion over the past several decades, which he said have flourished with historic achievements and transformation.

For one thing, he said that over the past 70 years, there has been continued enhancement of ecological conservation and environmental protection policy, firm measures implemented to strengthen pollution prevention — with plans in place for similar action for air, water and soil — and the reduction in emissions of main pollutants.

The moves, Li told journalists, are tied to China's development landscape and several are obligatory targets in the country's economic and social development.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, over the past five years the average fine particulate matter concentration in 74 cities that took the lead in implementing new air quality standards dropped by close to 48 per cent; and the proportion of good quality surface water increased to 71 per cent.

Li outlined also the transformation undertaken in environmental protection oversight through the bolstering of environmental governance structures since 1974.

Environmental law has been another pillar of China's efforts to protect and conserve the environment the State official said, through intense and unprecedented legislative framework which have either been formulated or revised in keeping with global obligations.


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