Full Text: Responding to Climate Change: China's Policies and Actions

White Paper
The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China on Friday released a white paper titled "Responding to Climate Change: China's Policies and Actions."

XinhuaUpdated: October 27, 2021

I. China's New Responses to Climate Change

China's responses to climate change are an important part of its efforts to achieve eco-environmental progress and high-quality development. Based on the requirements of its internal sustainable development, and its due responsibility for building a global community of shared future, China has formulated new principles on tackling climate change and is contributing its solutions to global climate governance.

1. Building a Strong Sense of Common Community

China advocates a joint effort to build a global community of shared future. The earth is the only home we have. Human beings share a common future in the face of the challenges presented by global climate change, and no country can make itself immune from the impact. Therefore, all countries should strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and build a global community of shared future together. This is China's new vision for human development, in the common interest of all peoples.

China also advocates a community of harmony between humanity and nature. The Chinese people have always valued the idea that human beings are an integral part of nature and should follow the laws of nature. Industrial civilization, which has created massive material wealth, has also laid bare the growing tensions in the relationship between humans and nature. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has further stimulated profound reflection on that relationship. Mother Nature has nourished us, and we must treat her as our root, respect her, protect her, and follow her laws. Through a sense of responsibility to human civilization, China is making every effort to fight climate change, build a community of harmony between humanity and nature, and help foster a new relationship where humanity and nature can both live and prosper in harmony.

2. Implementing the New Development Philosophy

Actions are driven by philosophies. In this new development stage, China pursues a philosophy that development must be innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared, and accelerates the pace in creating a new development dynamic. Among the five axes of the new philosophy, green development is a necessary condition for sustainability. It represents the people's aspiration for a better life, and is a key guide for China's climate actions. China holds the view that clear waters and green mountains are invaluable assets, and that eco-environmental protection and improvement lead to greater productivity. Mitigating climate change reflects the overall global transition towards green and low-carbon living. China has abandoned its previous development model that damaged or even destroyed the eco-environment. Instead, following the current technological revolution and industrial trends, it has seized the opportunities created by green transition, transformed and upgraded its economic and industrial structure and energy mix through innovation, and achieved a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. A better eco-environment is boosting China's sustainable economic and social development.

3. Taking a People-Centered Approach

Climate change poses a severe threat to the economic and social development of all countries and to people's lives and property. Therefore our responses affect the fundamental interests of all people. Mitigating and adapting to climate change are essential for increasing the people's sense of eco-environmental gain, and will provide them with a fairer, more sustainable and safer environment that promotes higher quality and more efficient development. China puts people and lives first, and cherishes the life, value and dignity of every individual. Taking into full consideration the people's aspiration for a better life, their expectation of a sound eco-environment, and their responsibility for future generations, China is pioneering a new approach that synergizes the efforts to fight climate change, develop the economy, generate employment, eliminate poverty, and protect the environment. It guarantees and improves people's wellbeing through development, strives for social equity and justice in the process of green transition, and increases people's sense of gain, happiness and security.

4. Striving for Carbon Neutrality

To achieve the goals of peaking carbon emissions and subsequent carbon neutrality is one of China's major strategies, defined after careful consideration. This is a must-do in order to relieve the serious constraints imposed by resources and the environment on China's economic growth, and to achieve sustainable development. It is also a solemn commitment towards building a global community of shared future. China has incorporated this decision into its overall economic and social development, adopting a holistic approach and balancing the relationships between economic growth and emissions reduction, between overall and regional interests, and between short, medium, and long-term growth. Led by the green economic and social transition, China is focusing on green and low-carbon development of the energy sector, and accelerating the formation of industrial structures, production modes, ways of work and life and spatial configurations that help to conserve resources and protect the environment. It is fully committed to high-quality development that prioritize eco-environmental protection and green and low-carbon way of life.

5. Synergizing the Reduction of Pollution and Carbon Emissions

Carbon dioxide and other ordinary pollutants often come from the same sources, mainly from the burning and utilization of fossil fuels. Controlling the use of fossil fuels and consequently reducing carbon emissions have a lasting impact on the economic structure, energy mix, forms of transport, modes of production, and ways of life. It will boost high-quality development by pressing for the green transition of the economy; it will be conducive to mitigating climate change and the damage it causes to life, property, society, and the economy; it will facilitate the source control of pollution, achieving synergy between pollution and carbon reduction and improvement of the eco-environment; it will help conserve biodiversity and improve ecosystems.

China sees pollution prevention and control as an integral part of the response to climate change. Through structural adjustment, optimized configuration, policy synergy and innovative mechanisms, efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions are planned and carried out in tandem, and the performance assessment of the two is also conducted jointly. Balancing environmental, climate and economic gains, China has found a unique path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that conforms to its actual conditions.

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