2019-08 20
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First National Park Forum opens in northwest China



XINING, Aug. 19 -- The first forum on national parks opened Monday in Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province. The two-day event attracted more than 450 representatives of regulatory agencies, experts and scholars at home and abroad to discuss topics including construction and management of nature reserve areas, biodiversity protection, and the future of natural heritage sites. The establishment of a national park system is crucial to the protection and maintenance of the ecological system and build-up of harmony between man and nature, said Zhang Jianlong, head of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration. "We will build up a nature reserve system with national parks as its main body," said Zhang while addressing the opening ceremony. China has approved the pilot plans for a spate of national parks. "We will strive to largely finish the political task in 2020 to support the full establishment of the national park system," he said. "Through this new national park system, China has the opportunity to contribute to world biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, and to show leadership in ecosystem services and the relationship between humans and environment," said Jonathan Jarvis, former director of the U.S. National Park Service, at the opening ceremony. "China has world class natural and cultural resources such as those I saw within the pilot Sanjiangyuan National Park." Qinghai, located on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, boasts some of the richest biodiversity in the world and is one of the first provinces in China to carry out pilot programs for the national park system. China aims to set up a batch of national parks and form a unified management system by 2020 with an aim to connect fragmented habitats and improve the management and conservation of wildlife. Pilot projects are underway for 10 national parks, including one in Sanjiangyuan in Qinghai, which is home to the headwaters of the Yangtze, Yellow and Lancang rivers. The National Park Forum was jointly hosted by the National Forestry and Grassland Administration and the provincial government of Qinghai. Source: Xinhua Date: August 20, 2019

2019-08 08
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China to jointly build a beautiful planet with the world



We only have one Earth. Nature is where human beings exist and develop, thus the way forward shall be green development in accordance with with nature and eco-friendly progress. “We must protect this planet like our own eyes, and cherish nature the way we cherish life. We must preserve what gives our planet life and embrace green development.” The remarks of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 Beijing carry huge significance. In the first half of this year, the Chinese President attended a series of international events and diplomatic activities where he spared no efforts to promote the ecological civilization characterized by harmonious coexistence between man and nature, calling the world to work together for a green and better future for all and contribute to sustainability. Today, China has become an important participant, contributor, and torchbearer in the global endeavor for ecological civilization. John B. Cobb, one of the earliest scholars to bring up the concept of “green GDP” and member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, remarked that China has shed a light of hope upon global ecological civilization. The Belt and Road is a road for open and green development, and green development is one of the most important guiding principles for the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road. At the second Belt and Road Forum on International Cooperation (BRF), it was proposed by President Xi to launch green infrastructure projects, make green investment and provide green financing to protect the Earth which we all call home. In this connection, China and its partners have set up the Belt and Road Sustainable Cities Alliance and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) International Green Development Coalition, formulated the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development, set up the BRI Environmental Big Data Platform and implemented the Belt and Road South-South Cooperation Initiative on Climate Change. These concrete moves and plans indicated that building a green Belt and Road is real actions rather than empty talks. Under China’s efforts to promote green development of the Belt and Road, wildlife-crossing structures have been built for Kenya's Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway to allow safe passage for giraffes and other wildlife; Sinai Peninsula of Egypt is analyzing China’s experiences of water-saving terraces; and Brazil has built the Belo Monte super high voltage hydroelectric plant that runs on clean energy. On the way to construct a green Belt and Road, Chinese green technologies and plans are benefiting the people of participating countries and regions. The International Horticultural Exhibition 2019 Beijing was held by the beautiful Guishui River and at the foot of the majestic Great Wall. At the opening ceremony of the Exhibition, President Xi delivered an important speech, noting that the world needs to advocate harmony between man and nature, pursue prosperity through green development, follow a philosophy that cares for nature, adopt a scientific approach to ecological conservation, and join hands to meet common challenges. These five proposals have chartered the course for global countries in working together to build a clean and beautiful world. Source: People's Daily Online Date: August 8, 2019

2019-07 30
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1 trillion trees would fight climate change



Estimated cost is $300 billion, the cheapest solution for global warming One of the most effective tools the world has against climate change is trees. And immediate action is in need to protect trees and plant new ones as China has been doing, said analysts. Trees absorb enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. The potential impact of more trees on climate change has been brought to the fore after a new study suggested that planting 1 trillion trees around the world would be "the cheapest climate change solution". Nonetheless, any serious effort to address climate change would also require significant curbs on emissions, experts emphasize. Thomas Crowther is a professor at ETH Zurich University and the lead researcher of the study published on July 5 in the journal Science. He estimated that planting or restoring 1 trillion trees would cost the world about $300 billion, about half of the combined sales of Apple, Microsoft and Amazon last year. It would be equivalent to about 2.2 percent of a single year of China's economic output. Over a few decades, that many trees could extract 750 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - about as much as people have generated over the past quarter-century. The study includes potential sites for tree planting, and estimates the area needed would be roughly equal to the landmass of the United States. The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change also estimated that planting trees on 1 billion hectares of land (roughly the same amount as the total suggested in the study) would prevent average temperatures from rising by 1.5 C by 2050. "Trees are humans' best defense against climate change," Mei Ng, chairperson of green group Friends of the Earth (HK), told China Daily. "Tree planting is undeniably the simplest and most effective solution to mitigate ecological risks and climate threats." Friends of the Earth is an international network of nongovernmental organizations. Ng said a campaign to plant all those trees would require a three-pronged approach. The first prong would be to protect and enhance existing forests and green space. The second prong would be to plant new trees while regenerating forests and green space. This could be done through "regenerative development" to replenish any resources used. The third prong is public participation. "We need more knowledgeable and well-trained manpower to ensure we plant the right trees, at the right place, at the right time, and maintained by the right people," said Ng. Already, of course, there are many innovative efforts underway around the world, and particularly in China and Asia, for planting trees and protecting existing ones. For instance, Friends of the Earth (HK) has undertaken a project to plant 230,000 trees at the head of the Dongjiang River in Jiangxi province, East China. That project pales in comparison with a 6.66 million hectares of new forest that China set out to plant last year by deploying 60,000 soldiers to plant trees. Between 2016 and 2020, China plans to increase the land area covered by woodlands from 21.7 percent to 23 percent. Between 1990 and 2015, China added almost half a billion square kilometers of forest cover, according to the World Bank. Still, there are those who question the global push to plant more trees - on the basis of time available. "The climate crisis represents an emergency and there is no time to wait for this tree-growing program to come to fruition," Harald Heubaum, a climate policy expert at the University of London and co-founder of sustainable finance data initiative SUFINDA C.I.C., said. "It's actually more important to protect mature forests which store huge amounts of carbon today from getting logged than to rely on planting new forests which will take a long time to grow," Heubaum said. Ultimately, planting all those trees would not, by itself, be enough to reverse climate change. Even the authors of the study point out that such a push would have to go hand in hand with efforts to slash emissions. Source: China Daily Date: July 30, 2019

2019-07 12
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China to continue efforts to tackle climate change: Premier Li



BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) -- China will continue efforts to tackle climate change and plans to introduce more measures to strengthen energy saving and emissions reduction, according to a meeting presided over by Premier Li Keqiang. Li, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the head of the leading group of climate change, energy saving and emissions reduction, said the country had made notable progress in improving the ecological environment. China's carbon dioxide emissions intensity has lowered over the years while the non-fossil fuel energy share of the total energy consumption has gradually increased, Li said. He called for more efforts to realize the promise that the country's total emissions of carbon dioxide would peak and carbon intensity fall sharply by about 2030. China is willing to support United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement with the international community, in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, fairness and respective capabilities, according to Li. More efforts are needed to make multilateral negotiations in climate change reflect the demand of developing countries and to foster the development of global climate governance in a fair, reasonable and win-win approach, Li said. Apart from coping with climate change, Li announced a number of measures to save energy and reduce emissions at the meeting. Li urged continuous support for the development of renewable energy such as wind and solar power, low-emission equipment for coal-fired power plants and steel mills as well as infrastructure construction of sewage and garbage treatment. Tax incentives concerning energy saving and emissions reduction should be implemented, and the establishment of carbon emissions trading market should be accelerated, he said. Vice Premier Han Zheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and vice head of the leading group of climate change, energy saving and emissions reduction, also attended the meeting. Source: Xinhua Date: July 12, 2019

2019-07 05
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NRDC Presents Coal and Oil Cap Research Findings to China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs



On July 5, experts from NRDC’s China Coal Cap and Oil Cap Projects joined a research salon at Tsinghua University and presented their latest findings to Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, and professors He Jiankun and Li Zheng from the Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University. NRDC experts introduced the pathways and policy recommendations for China to cap its coal and oil consumption and to peak CO2 emissions by around 2025, five years earlier than China’s NDC. They also underscored the need and feasibility for limiting coal power plant construction and coal consumption in the coal chemicals and iron and steel sectors. Xie spoke highly of the research findings and recommendations, and encouraged more exchange and cooperation between the Coal Cap and Oil Cap team and the Tsinghua team. Source: NRDC Date: July 5, 2019