Address at the Third East Asia Summit by Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council, the
People’s Republic of China in Singapore on November 21, 2007
Prime Minister LeeHsien Loong, Dear Colleagues,
I am glad to meetyou again in Singapore, and I wish to express sincere thanks to you, Prime MinisterLee Hsien Loong, and the Singaporean Government for your hospitality.
With rapidindustrialization, mankind has created material wealth by using fossil fuels.But this has caused the emission of large amounts of pollutants and greenhousegases. As a result, energy, climate change and the environment have becomeincreasingly acute global challenges confronting all of us. The fact that weare exchanging views on these issues of strategic significance at the East AsiaSummit demonstrates the common resolve of countries in our region to strengthencooperation and jointly address these challenges.
Mr. Chairman, nowI wish to outline China’s views and position on climate change:
First, climatechange is a global issue. We must all work together to address this issue and protectour common homeland. Developed countries should face up to their historical responsibilitiesand the reality that their current per-capita emissions remain high, strictlycomply with the emission reduction targets laid down in the Kyoto Protocol, andcontinue to take the lead in cutting emissions after 2012. Developing countriesshould adopt active and effective measures according to their capabilities andcontribute their share to combating climate change. The international communityshould provide more support to developing countries, and developed countriesshould honor their commitment on transferring technology and providingfinancial assistance to developing countries to help them build capacity formitigating and adapting to climate change.
Second, climatechange is ultimately a development issue. We should pursue economic growth, socialdevelopment and environmental protection in a coordinated and balanced way, anddevelop models of production and consumption compatible with sustainabledevelopment. It is both unfeasible and wrong to tackle climate change at theexpense of economic growth or pursue economic growth with no regard to climatechange. It is estimated that about 2.4 billion people still use coal, charcoal,firewood and crop stalks as primary sources of fuel and some 1.6 billion peoplehave no access to electricity. To enable the poor population to enjoy modernenergy services and development opportunities is both a moral imperative and asocial responsibility. It should therefore be emphasized that efforts to tackleclimate change should help, and not hinder, the efforts of countries,particularly developing countries, to grow their economy and reduce poverty.
Third, the UnitedNations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol,which are most authoritative, universal and comprehensive, constitute the legalbasis of international cooperation on climate change. The principles of “commonbut differentiated responsibilities” and fairness established by the Conventionrepresent consensus of the international community and recognize differencesamong countries in economic development, historical responsibilities andcurrent per-capita emissions. We should uphold the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocolas the basic framework for international cooperation, and we also welcome otherinitiatives and mechanisms on practical cooperation that supplements the UNFCCCframework.
Fourth,technological advances play a decisive role in mitigating and adapting toclimate change. The international community should increase financial input andinformation sharing and step up cooperation in research and development andinnovation in technologies for energy conservation, environmental protectionand low-carbon energy. It is of particular importance to strengthen thedissemination and application of these technologies and make them affordable tothe developing countries. In this respect, one should not lay undue stress onthe role of market mechanism and make the market solely responsible fortackling climate change. Developed countries should lower trade andtechnological barriers, support the early implementation of UNFCCC provisionson technology transfer, establish effective mechanisms for technology transfer andcooperation, as this will enhance the capacity to jointly tackle climatechange.
Fifth, adaptationto climate change is of the greatest concerns to developing countries, and itis a major part of the efforts to address climate change. Developed countriesshould, in a spirit of partnership for common development, actively helpdeveloping countries build capacity for adaptation and managing weather-relateddisasters. They should launch the Adaptation Fund under the Kyoto Protocol atan early date and open it to all developing countries, improve the operation ofthe Global Environmental Facility and the Clean Development Mechanism to bringmore benefits to developing countries, and commit more financial resources foradaptation efforts and provide new and additional financial support todeveloping countries. China will host the “EAS Seminar on Adaptation CapacityBuilding for Climate Change” next year which will discuss ways for countries inour region to better adapt to climate change.
Mr. Chairman,China is the world’s most populous country and a lower middle level income developingcountry, and it is seriously affected by climate change. There has been a lotof media report on China’s aggregate carbon dioxide emissions. But such reporthas ignored some basic facts. China is home to 21 percent of the world’spopulation. China’s per-capita emission of carbon dioxide is quite low, lessthan one third of the average level of developed countries. In China, there arestill more than 20 million rural people living in poverty and over 22 millionurban residents who are below the poverty line, and the country’s economic andsocial development is uneven between urban and rural areas and among differentregions. China’s “development emissions” will see some increase, as we areendeavoring to improve the living standards and quality of life for 1.3 billionpeople. In addition, as a big manufacturing country, China makes products forconsumers across the world, but it is under growing pressure of “transferemissions” . We hope that these two factors should be taken into full accountwhen talking about China’s emissions.
China is strivingto embark on a new path to industrialization that features low consumption of resources,low emissions, high efficiency and high output, and this is an integral part ofinternational efforts to protect the environment, address climate change andachieve sustainable development. We look forward to the strong support for our effortsfrom the international community, particularly our East Asian neighbors. Chinawill shoulder its due international responsibilities and obligations in accordancewith the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol and the principle of common but differentiatedresponsibilities. China supports the Singapore Declaration on Climate Change,Energy and the Environment to be adopted at this summit. We will work with youto translate the goal and initiatives of the Declaration into concrete action,boost efforts of East Asia countries to address climate change and promoteharmonious, clean and sustainable development in East Asia.