2019-09 27
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Small but significant steps, China creates green miracles



BEIJING, Sept. 26 -- A number of daily actions such as taking the subway, paying utility bills online or simply walking will earn users "green energy" points, and once they reach a certain amount, a real tree will be planted. Many Chinese netizens have planted trees through the popular Alipay Ant Forest activity, which was launched on Alipay, a leading mobile payment platform in China, by Ant Financial Services Group, promoting greener lifestyles by inspiring users to reduce carbon emissions in their daily lives. Last week, Ant Forest won the 2019 Champions of the Earth award for turning the "green good deeds of half a billion people" into real trees planted in some of China's most arid regions, according to a statement from the UN Environment. Since its launch in August 2016, Ant Forest and its NGO partners have planted about 122 million trees in China's driest areas, which include regions in Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Qinghai and Shanxi. This is one of the ways that the relay of planting trees is carried on today. The relay, slow but significant, actually started decades ago and has turned into green miracles. In north China's Hebei Province, one such green miracle was made thanks to generations of persistent efforts. Saihanba, about 400 km north of Beijing, almost became a wasteland in the 1950s. To change the situation, hundreds of people began to plant trees in 1962. Planting trees was tough in Saihanba, where winter could last seven months and temperatures could drop to minus 43 degrees. Trees had to survive drought, frosts and pests. Over the past years, three generations of green enthusiasts from Saihanba have managed to turn the once barren land into a vast forest covering about 93,000 hectares. Saihanba has become an important ecological shield for Beijing and Tianjin, critically important to water and air quality for the Beijing-Tianjin area. In 2017, the Saihanba afforestation community also won the UN Champions of the Earth Award for its outstanding contribution to the restoration of degraded landscapes. In past decades, China has invested enormous efforts in green development, including the adoption of the world's first law on tackling desertification, the return of farmland to grass and a ban on natural forest logging. In the 1980s, China enshrined environmental protection as a fundamental national policy. The sustainable development strategy was formulated and put into practice in the 1990s. Since 2012, the development of ecological civilization has gained greater momentum. Now the country follows a maxim illustrated in the catchphrase: "Lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets." China has promised to increase its forest coverage to 23.04 percent by 2020, and to 26 percent by 2035. China, one of the first countries to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change, has pledged to halt the rise in carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030. A study using data from NASA satellites shows in February that China had contributed to at least one-fourth of the increase in the global green leaf area since the early 2000s. "Environmental protection work in China has never stopped and we are marching on our way to a greener home," said Qu Geping, 90, a former senior environment official who has been engaged in China's environmental protection work for over five decades. Source: Xinhua Date: September 27, 2019

2019-09 26
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China has taken urgent actions to combat climate change: report



BEIJING, Sept. 26 -- China has taken urgent actions to combat climate change and adopted effective policies to strengthen response, demonstrating its commitment to sustainable development and transformation to a low-carbon green economy, according to China's Progress Report on Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China has ramped up efforts in disaster prevention, mitigation and relief, making the country increasingly resilient to climate change, noted the report released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile, China has persevered with low-carbon development, scoring positive results in controlling greenhouse gas emissions. In 2018, China's carbon intensity dropped by approximately 45.8 percent compared to 2005, beating the 40 percent to 45 percent reduction target by 2020. The country has also intensified awareness and advocacy campaigns on climate change and low-carbon development, resulting in an uptick in society-wide engagement in climate change response. As an active player in global climate governance, China has helped promote and strengthen international climate cooperation and put forward the China solutions as its contribution to the global climate change response. For the next steps, the report said there is still room for improvement in institutional development and essential capacity building. The report outlined three priorities, including promoting low-carbon development in key areas, proactively adapting to climate change and conducting international cooperation extensively. Source: Xinhua Date: September 26, 2019

2019-09 18
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NW China gets warmer, wetter: experts



LANZHOU, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The northwest region of China, which used to be cold and dry, is now getting warmer and wetter, climate experts said. Academics have noticed as early as the 1980s the increasing rainfall in the northwestern areas and speculated that the areas would become warm and wet. "The speculation about the climate change in northwest China in the next 30 years has been confirmed," said Ding Yihui, an expert of the China Meteorological Administration. Chen Baofu works for an airport in Gansu Province. As an old shuttle bus driver, Chen said he has noticed the changes on the road linking the airport and the capital city of Lanzhou over the past few years. "The 70-km-long road was built on barren mountains. But there is more rainfall here, and more plants grow on the mountains nowadays," Chen said. The arid climate was a major reason that the Mogao Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site, has been preserved for thousands of years. But as rainfall increased in the summer, the tourist attraction in Gansu was shut down temporarily, while the gobi desert nearby has also seen grass growing. "We used global climate models to predict that this trend will last until the mid-21st century," Ding added. Statistics from the meteorological departments of northwestern provinces of Shaanxi, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region showed these areas have seen climate warming and increasing precipitation since 1961, while the trend of warming and humidification has become striking since 2000. In Gansu alone, from 1961 to 2015, the temperature in the province has risen steadily at a rate of 0.29 degrees Celsius every 10 years. In 2018, the average temperature in Gansu was 0.7 degrees Celsius higher, and the average precipitation increased by 27.7 percent as well. Research results released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and other institutions also showed that China's northwestern regions, particularly the central and western areas within the range, have more precipitation, including part of Xinjiang, the Qilian Mountains, the Hexi Corridor and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. In the eastern part of northwest China, the increase in precipitation was not obvious, with some areas even having a slight decrease. Meanwhile, an increase in melting glaciers, river runoff and the rise of lakes' water levels have emerged in northwest China. A research report carried out by the CAS suggested that the changes in northwest China were probably caused by an intensification of the water cycle triggered by global warming. Zhang Qiang, deputy director of Gansu's provincial meteorological bureau, said that the northwest region is more sensitive to global warming, therefore, the impact of climate change on the regions is more significant. Some experts believe that the warmer and wetter climate is good for the development of agriculture and ecological restoration. Li Zongsheng, an associate researcher with the Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, CAS, said that, in the short term, it is of positive significance for local economic development by seizing the opportunities to appropriately increase the scale of agricultural cultivation. However, Li stressed that the droughty weather in northwest China cannot be changed. "We should coordinate the relationship between sustainable development and water resources," Li added. "As the climate gets warmer, more natural disasters including torrential rainfall and landslides could occur in the region. It is important to raise the awareness of disaster prevention and relief," Zhang warned. Source: Xinhua Date: September 18, 2019

2019-09 11
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China plays championing role in climate adaptation: Ban Ki-moon



As one of the two policy responses in addressing climate change, climate adaptation is an urgent task that requires joint efforts from all countries, while China, a leading power of climate change governance, can provide good examples for other nations to follow, said Ban Ki-moon, 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations. “China has always been a champion in addressing climate change, in both mitigation and adaptation. We hope that many countries, particularly developing countries, will learn from the good examples and practices that China has already implemented,” said Ban. Ban’s remarks came on the heel of the launching ceremony of a Global Commission on Adaptation Report in Beijing Tuesday, which calls for all nations to take urgent action to innovate and advance climate adaptation solutions in light of new research findings. “Adaptation is one of the two policy responses in addressing climate change, but in reality, we haven’t done enough until now. Adaptation, well-done, can save a lot of human lives and prevent unnecessary damages with effective and efficient early warning systems. This message should be disseminated around the world,” said Ban. According to the report, investing $1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 in five areas could yield $7.1 trillion in net benefits. Ban noted that by investing wisely in adaptation, people would be able to prevent potential losses and damages, receiving remarkable payback in many areas including social-economic fields. The former UN Secretary-General praised China’s achievements in climate adaptation, adding that China’s stance of a shared future for humankind is a brilliant idea. “In 2013, President Xi promulgated a national strategy on climate change adaptation. The Chinese government also contributed large financial support for sustainable development goals. What you are doing through the Belt and Road Initiative for many countries is exactly what President Xi proposed, to build a community with a shared future for mankind,” said Ban. In addition to the launching ceremony held in Beijing, events in more than 10 major cities also took place on Tuesday.  Source: People's Daily Online Author: Kou Jie, Liu Ning, Kong Qi Date: September 11, 2019

2019-09 10
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Xi stresses synergy, coordination, efficiency in advancing reform



BEIJING, Sept. 9 -- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), presided over the 10th meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform Monday. Xi, also Chinese president, chairman of the Central Military Commission and head of the central committee for deepening overall reform, said that efforts should be made to strengthen the synergy, coordination and efficiency in advancing reform and to make institutions in all areas more mature and in better shape. "To implement the reform tasks set by the central committee since the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, we must consolidate and deepen the achievements we have made in addressing institutional obstacles, institutional obstruction and policy innovation over the years," Xi said. Li Keqiang, Wang Huning and Han Zheng, all members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy heads of the central committee for deepening overall reform, also attended. The meeting reviewed and approved a series of documents concerning promoting the integrated development of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries, creating a better environment to support the reform and development of private enterprises, promoting high-quality development of trade, implementing the strategy for ensuring the supply of major farm produce, coordinating supervision of financial infrastructure and intensifying fight against plastic pollution. The meeting demanded efforts to promote the integration and co-existence of advanced manufacturing and modern service industries. The meeting stressed the need to support the development of private business, and to ensure the equal utilization of production factors by various kinds of business ownerships and their participation in market competition in an open, fair and just manner, and equally enjoying protection by law. To pursue high-quality trade development, technical and institutional innovation and new types of business shall be encouraged, it said. The meeting stressed the need to remove institutional obstacles and make efforts to secure a much easier flow of labor and talent in various sectors through broader channels. It also made arrangements on establishing a rational, safe and highly-efficient key farm produce supply system which takes ensuring national food security as its bottom line. The meeting urged efforts to strengthen overall supervision and control over key financial infrastructure and promote the formation of a well-organized, effective, advanced, reliable and flexible financial infrastructure system. Stressing smart development and enhancing social governance capacity, the meeting also demanded efforts to advocate a simple, moderate, green and low-carbon lifestyle. Efforts should be made to increase the supply of green products and regulate the recycle and reuse of plastic waste, so as to control plastic pollution in an effective and orderly way, the meeting said. Source: Xnhua Date: Sep,10,2019