Special report: President Hu visits Australia, attends APEC meeting
SYDNEY, Australia, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao expounded China's stance on tackling climate change on Saturday at the 15th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.
The APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, which opened on Saturday with the theme of "strengthening our community, building a sustainable future," focused on climate change and other issues at the opening session.
In a speech delivered at the meeting, Hu said the overall stable international environment, accelerating economic globalization and rapid progress in technological innovation have presented mankind with a rare opportunity for development.
"As one of the most dynamic regions with great potentials, the Asia-Pacific region has become an important driving force propelling global economic growth," he said.
On the other hand, the Asia-Pacific region also faces some uncertainties in its development, the Chinese president said.
Global economic imbalances are increasing, trade protectionism is resurfacing, pressure on energy resources is growing, and issues related to ecological environments have become more acute, Hu said.
Climate change, which concerns the development of the Asia-Pacific and the well-being of all the people in the region, has drawn concern from Asia-Pacific countries, he added.
Climate change poses a severe challenge to the Asia-Pacific region, but the region also has unique strengths in tackling it, the Chinese president said, adding the Asia-Pacific is a region of diversity and strong complementarity.
APEC members have in recent years launched a number of initiatives and measures to tackle climate change, and progress has been made, he said.
"We should build consensus and conduct cooperation on this basis. This will enable us not only to promote sustainable development in our region but also boost the global efforts to address climate change," he told leaders of other APEC member economies.
FOUR-POINT PROPOSALS ON CLIMATE CHANGE
"We should act in a highly responsible way for both mankind and the future," said Hu. "We should respect history, address current problems, be future-oriented, carry out practical cooperation and coordinate economic development with environmental protection."
The Chinese president put forward four proposals for tackling climate change, including ways of strengthening cooperation, pursuing sustainable development and promoting scientific and technological innovation.
First, cooperation is indispensable to global efforts to tackle climate change, Hu said.
Climate change, being a global issue that concerns the interests of all countries, should be addressed through the joint efforts of all countries, Hu told the economic leaders of other APEC members.
In tackling climate change, helping others is helping oneself, and only cooperation can bring about win-win progress, he added.
Developed countries should face their historical responsibility and their current high per capita emissions, strictly abide by their emission reduction targets set forth in the Kyoto Protocol, and continue to take the lead in reducing emissions after 2012, he said.
Developing countries should, in light of their national conditions, take due measures including introducing and applying advanced clean technologies, to contribute their share to tackling climate change, Hu added.
Second, efforts are needed to pursue sustainable development, as climate change is ultimately a development issue and it can only be addressed in the course of sustainable development, Hu said.
"We should ensure that both production and consumption are compatible with sustainable development. We should optimize the energy structure, promote industrial upgrading, develop low-carbon economy, build a resources-conserving and environment-friendly society and thus address the root cause of climate change," said the Chinese president.
Third, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should be upheld as the core mechanism for addressing climate change, he said.
The Convention and its Kyoto Protocol constitute the legal basis of international cooperation on climate change and are the most authoritative, universal and comprehensive international framework for the issue, he said.
"The Convention and the Protocol should be upheld as the core mechanism and main channel for addressing climate change, and the principle established in the Convention should be taken as the guiding principle for addressing climate change," he added.
Fourth, efforts should be made to promote scientific and technological innovation, as science and technology are important means for tackling climate change, Hu said.
"We should step up research and development as well as the application of energy efficient technologies, environmental protection technologies and low carbon energy technologies, increase capital investment in these areas, and boost technological cooperation and transfer of technologies," said the Chinese president.
"We should intensify personnel training, improve protection of intellectual property rights, bring into full play the initiatives of all parties and raise our overall capacity to jointly address climate change," he added.
NETWORK ON FOREST REHABILITATION AND SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT
The Chinese president proposed the setting up of the Asia-Pacific Network on Forest Rehabilitation and Sustainable Management.
The network will provide a platform for APEC members to share best practices, conduct policy dialogue and carry out personnel training on forest rehabilitation and management, he said.
Hu invited APEC members to join the proposed network to promote forest rehabilitation and expansion, so as to increase carbon sink and mitigate climate change in the Asia Pacific region.
STRENGTHENING CAPACITY TO ADAPT TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Hu said China has always taken climate change very seriously and contributed its share to mitigating global greenhouse gas emissions.
"We will fully implement the National Program on Addressing Climate Change and endeavor to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen our capacity to adapt to climate change as we pursue economic development," said the Chinese president.
China has set the targets of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20 percent and discharge of main pollutants by 10 percent and raising forest coverage from 18.2 percent to 20 percent between the end of 2005 and 2010.
BUILDING A CLEAN, HARMONIOUS AND DYNAMIC ASIA-PACIFIC REGION
To effectively tackle climate change, China follows the scientific thinking on development and takes resource conservation and environmental protection as a basic state policy, Hu told the gathering.
China is endeavoring to strike a balance among economic growth, population, resources and the environment.
"We are pursuing a sound development strategy that promotes production, makes life better for the people and protects the environment," he added.
"We have taken sustainable development as an important objective for China's economic and social development and incorporated policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change into the national plan for economic and social development so as to tackle climate change in a coordinated and holistic manner," he said.
China will give full play to the leading and basic role of scientific and technological innovation and will vigorously develop new and renewable energies, energy efficient technologies, carbon absorption technologies and various adaptation technologies, he said.
"We will launch a nation-wide publicity campaign on climate change to raise public awareness of energy efficiency and emission reduction, and encourage everyone to take action to help mitigate and adapt to climate change," said the Chinese president.
Before the start of meeting, the leaders of the APEC member economies posed for a group photo.
Also on Saturday, Hu participated in a dialogue between APEC economic leaders and representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC).
The Chinese president arrived in Sydney from Canberra on Wednesday to attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting. He also paid a state visit to Australia.
The two-day Economic Leaders' Meeting is the culmination of this year's annual APEC meetings, which also include a ministerial meeting, a senior officials' meeting and a business summit.
Since its inception in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies, APEC has played a vital role in making the Asia-Pacific region a driving force for global economic growth.
APEC currently has 21 members and the chairmanship rotates among its members.