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Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 09:43

China 'playing constructive climate role'

By Xinhua

China 'playing constructive climate role'
Large solar panels are seen in a solar power plant in Hami, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on May 8, 2013. (PHOT O / AFP)

LONDON - China is playing a "very important and constructive" role in combating climate change, International Energy Agency (IEA) Chief Economist Fatih Birol has said.

Birol, who is also the Executive Director-elect of IEA, made the remarks in an interview with Xinhua. He praises China's efforts in transforming its energy mix by investing huge money in renewable energies projects and improving energy efficiency.

CONSTRUCTIVE ROLE

The global economy grew by around three percent in 2014 but energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions stayed flat, the first time in at least 40 years that such an outcome has occurred outside economic crisis, said IEA in its special report on energy and climate change.

The Paris-based international energy policy consulting organization estimates that a peak in global energy related emissions could be achieved as early as 2020 and at no net economic cost, if governments implement five key policy measures, including improving energy efficiency, increasing renewable energy technologies and the like.

"China is playing a very important and constructive role when it comes to climate change issues," Birol said, adding that he expected the spirit of US-China joint announcement on climate change, made in November 2014, to encourage the upcoming meeting of COP21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties in Paris in December 2015).

In November last year, presidents of both China and the United States announced both countries' respective post-2020 actions on climate change in Beijing. China intends to achieve the peaking of greenhouse gas emissions around 2030 and increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030.

"I would expect China to continue its constructive role both for Chinese citizens and also for the rest of the world. I'm sure China will make a contribution for both sides, being a very distinct member of the global community," Birol said.

IEA also tunes positively on the increasing global consensus on cutting GHG (greenhouse gas) emission, which has been laying a solid ground for the COP21 event.

"So China has already been making major efforts, and today when we look at renewable energy for example, the investment made by China in renewable energies is bigger than that by United States, by Europe and by Japan," he said.

LEADERSHIP

"China's leadership in terms of energy efficiency is very important. China does play an important role, and will continue to do so," he highlighted, noting a slowdown of coal use growth in China. "I hope this trend will continue without hard hit to economic growth."

He also believed that in terms of nuclear power, another important carbon-free source, China has the competitive advantages.

Birol said that the targets of reducing air pollution in China and cutting down the carbon dioxide emission can run parallel.

China can improve its energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energies, and simultaneously control the local pollution, he said.

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