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Difficult balancing act can be done

By LI YANG | China Daily | Updated: 2021-10-28 07:07

A wind-power plant in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province. YAO FENG/FOR CHINA DAILY

The State Council Information Office released a White Paper on Responding to Climate Change: China's Policies and Actions on Wednesday, providing the world with an overview of not only China's achievements in this regard but also specific steps it will take to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

With the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 26, to be convened in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sunday, the document injects positive energy into global climate cooperation.

During the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-20), China supported an average annual economic growth of 5.7 percent with an average annual growth rate of 2.8 percent in energy consumption, and its energy conservation accounted for about half of the global total during the same period.

Yet, the country has a lot of difficult tasks to fulfill even as it strives to realize its emissions goals. These range from upgrading its economic structure, advancing urbanization, promoting ecological conservation to the improvement of people's livelihoods, none of which it can afford to slack off on.

That being said, China has to strike a difficult balance between its development goals and emissions reduction goals. Through exploring groundbreaking green development measures and embedding them into its pursuit of high-quality development, the country is trying to reconcile the internal tensions between growth and emissions reduction.

The upgrading of the energy structure, the research into emissions reduction technology, the development of new energy and related industries, the opening of the national carbon trading market, the green financial sector that is poised to boom and the adjustment of the government evaluation mechanism that makes emissions reduction a key performance indicator for local governors are all advancing the restructuring of the country's economy, industry, society and governance in the direction of sustainable green development.

In other words, through transforming its growth model, the country is trying to cultivate new growth drivers related to emissions reduction to make the process self-propelled and sustainable in the long run.

Addressing climate change is the common cause of all mankind. China has set an example for other countries in emissions reduction. The international community should undertake its responsibility with unprecedented ambition and action. Countries should uphold sustainable development, multilateralism, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and carry out win-win cooperation.

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