2019-06 29
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China calls for multilateralism, int'l cooperation to address climate change



BEIJING, June 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called for the adherence of multilateralism and international cooperation to deal with climate change. Li made the remarks when delivering a speech at the inaugural ceremony of the Global Center on Adaptation China Office at the Great Hall of the People after holding talks with visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Rutte and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also attended the ceremony. The Global Center on Adaptation is the executive body of the Global Commission on Adaptation which was co-founded by 17 countries including the Netherlands and China in 2018. The commission was designed to promote the international community adapting to climate change and enhancing partnership and to help those countries that are vulnerable to climate change improve their adaption capacity. Addressing the global challenge of climate change is not only the consensus of the international community but also the need for China's economic transformation and upgrading, said Li. "As the world's largest developing country, China has always focused on economic development while paying attention to improving people's livelihood, and continued efforts are needed for China's modernization." "China will implement a national strategy of actively addressing the climate change in accordance with its own national conditions," said Li, adding that China will continue to shoulder due responsibility and obligation and provide other developing countries, particularly small island countries, with aid within its own capacity and under the framework of the South-South cooperation to help them improve the capacity. The Chinese premier pointed out that developed countries should provide developing countries with financial and technological assistance to help them adapt to climate change, and jointly make unremitting efforts in implementing the Paris Agreement and accelerating the global adaptation to climate change. Rutte said the Netherlands is ready to work with China to enhance cooperation with the Global Commission on Adaptation, facilitate experience and technology exchanges among different countries and take collaborate actions to make more efforts in addressing climate change. Ban Ki-moon, also president of the Global Commission on Adaptation, said climate change has no national boundaries, and only through global collaboration and joint actions can the shared future world be protected. He said the commission will continue to enhance cooperation with government, society and private sectors from countries around the world to promote a synergy to effectively address climate change and advance global sustainable development. Source: Xinhua Date: June 29, 2019

2019-06 28
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China expects G20 Osaka summit to send positive signal of combating climate change



BEIJING, June 27 (Xinhua) -- China expects the upcoming Group of 20 (G20) summit in Osaka, Japan to send positive signals of combating climate change, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said here Thursday. Media reported that the draft communique of the G20 Osaka summit did not include the implementation of the Paris Agreement. In response, spokesperson Geng Shuang said tackling climate change has always been an important issue for G20, and as a major platform for global economic cooperation, G20 has played an important role in promoting cooperation on climate change. "We expect the G20 Osaka summit could send positive political signals of combating climate change," he said. China always actively participated in the multilateral process of tackling climate change and taken part in relevant negotiations under multilateral mechanisms such as G20, Geng said. Referring to the G20 summit in Buenos Aires last year, he said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated their firm commitment to working together in combating climate change in a press statement. During the upcoming summit in Osaka, Geng said the three parties might again hold a meeting on climate change, expressing hope that the meeting will play an active role in promoting discussions on climate change under multilateral mechanisms including G20. Source: Xinhua Date: June 28, 2019

2019-06 19
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China steps forward with low-carbon actions



BEIJING, June 19 (Xinhua) -- China published its first-ever guide to implementing carbon neutrality during big events, among other actions to cope with climate change. Prior to the National Low-carbon Day on Wednesday, the guide was issued by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), offering event organizers specific measures to reduce carbon emissions, such as providing attendees with reusable daily supplies, double-sided printed materials and vegetarian options. The usage of air conditioning systems and the number of decorative materials and wrappers should be as minimal as possible, according to the guide. To offset greenhouse gas emissions during large events, organizers are encouraged to purchase carbon credits or carbon quotas, or grow new carbon-sink forests upon calculation of their emissions, the MEE said. The organizers are specifically encouraged to give priority to buying carbon credits or plant forests in poverty-stricken areas, according to the MEE, so as to establish a new mechanism which combines carbon neutrality with poverty alleviation. It is the first time for China to publish a national document on carbon neutrality, according to Liu Qingzhi, a senior engineer of the China Environmental United Certification Center (CEC). "China has launched various low-carbon oriented events referring to related international standards since 2010. The new guide provides China a road map for further low-carbon movements," said Liu. As the world's largest developing country, China is resolute in coping with climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, China cut its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by about 45.8 percent compared with the 2005 level, fulling the target two years in advance. After establishing a nationwide carbon emission trading system in December 2017, China saw its share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption reach 14.3 percent in 2018, closing on the target of 15 percent by 2020. National Low-carbon Day falls on the third day of the National Energy Efficiency Promotion Week in June every year, a campaign to raise public awareness of energy efficiency and promote green lifestyles. Source: Xinhua Date: June 19, 2019

2019-06 06
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Chinese vice premier attends World Environment Day event



HANGZHOU, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng Wednesday attended an event for the 2019 World Environment Day in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. At the event, Han read President Xi Jinping's congratulatory letter and delivered a speech, stressing that the letter demonstrated the Chinese government's great emphasis on this year's event. Zhejiang is where President Xi initiated the assertion that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets," Han said, adding that selecting the venue in Zhejiang was of great significance in terms of environmental protection. This year's theme "Beat Air Pollution" manifests people's aspiration and resolution to improve air quality, Han said. Emphasizing that China was willing to cooperate with other countries in coping with global environmental problems, Han called for sharing pollution control experience and joint efforts in dealing with climate change. While strengthening cooperation in protecting biodiversity, China and other nations should be devoted to the green development under the Belt and Road Initiative and facilitate global sustainable development, Han added. Source: People's Daily Online Date: June 6, 2019

2019-06 03
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‘Bicycle Kingdom’ makes a comeback, as China seeks solutions to tackle air pollution crisis



Cars have replaced bicycles as the primary means of transport in many Chinese cities but, with air pollution a major problem for the country, the bike is making a comeback, thanks to digital technology, and some 21st Century thinking. China was once considered to be the "Kingdom of the Bicycle,” with bikes dominating city streets across the country, but over the past four decades, China’s dramatic economic prosperity and urbanization has seen many people move to motor vehicles as their primary means of transport, contributing to a marked deterioration in air quality. In Hangzhou, a city in eastern China that was once described by the Italian explorer Marco Polo as “the finest and most splendid city in the world,” air pollution has had a devastating effect. According to data backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), Hangzhou’s air pollution is well over WHO’s safe level. However, in a bid to improve public health and the environment, the Hangzhou authorities have put a fresh emphasis on cycling, which, allied with digital technology, is helping to cut pollution: other cities are following their example. Over the past decade, the local government has been improving bike-friendly infrastructure, such as lanes and traffic signals created solely for cyclists, and has provided almost 86,000 public bikes. A smart card allows users to easily access all forms of public transport, from bikes to boats to buses. “All together there have been 760 million rides, that’s almost half the population of China,” says Tao Xuejun, general manager of the Hangzhou Public Bicycle Service. “So far, more than 400 cities in China have adopted our project. Our dream is to promote our model across China and all over the world.” As a result of these initiatives, according to Tao, cycling has become a popular choice for both local citizens and tourists, and the efforts of the Government-run company have been rewarded with international recognition, including the International Ashden Award for Sustainable Travel in 2017. A mobile app that plants millions of trees As well as leading the Chinese cycling resurgence, Hangzhou is home to an innovative way to encourage more sustainable lifestyles, with an app that is helping to stop desertification, cut air pollution and plant millions of new trees.   The “Ant Forest” mini-program, a Hangzhou-based project from giant Chinese payments and lifestyle app Alipay, incites users to make small, environmentally friendly decisions in their daily lives, such as cycling rather than driving to work, or recycling clothes. When users perform any carbon-reducing activities, they are rewarded with “green energy” points. As they accumulate enough virtual points, a real tree is planted. According to Ant Financial, more than 100 million trees have been planted, thanks to the low-carbon actions of 500 million individuals, roughly 5% of the world's population. Beijing’s fight to see through the haze Internationally, one of the best-known examples of harmful air pollution affecting quality of life in a city, is the Chinese capital, Beijing. Beijing’s remarkable development over the last two decades saw a significant, and visible, rise in air pollution, due to a combination of factors, including coal-related pollutants; the growth of motor transport, especially logistics freight trucks; heavy industry; and dust from buildings and roads, according to one of the main authors of a UN led report, A review of 20 Years’ Air Pollution Control in Beijing. Fine particulates – tiny, invisible airborne particles – are largely responsible for deaths and illnesses from air pollution. The smallest, and deadliest, are called PM2.5 particles, which bypass the body’s defences and lodge in the lungs, bloodstream and brain. Business, public buildings and households account for around half of PM2.5 emissions. Today, fine particulate pollution in Beijing’s air is still 7.3 times the safe level the WHO’s annual safe level, but the local and regional governments have managed to improve the situation in recent years. By working together on a strategy to tackle the problem, by using the legal, economic and technological tools at its disposal, the concentration of fine particles in the air fell by one third, beating the target set by the State Council, China’s main administrative body. “Beijing has achieved impressive air quality improvements in a short amount of time,” said Dechen Tsering, Director of UN Environment’s Asia Pacific Regional Office. “It is a good example of how a large city in a developing country can balance environmental protection and economic growth,” she stressed. China is hosting the 2019 UN World Environment Day on June 05, with air pollution as the theme, The main events marking the day, will take place in Hangzhou. Source: UN News Date: June 3, 2019