Chinese environment authorities refute US smears, call for US to take responsibility
Published: Oct 29, 2020 02:55 AM

Photo taken on Oct. 12, 2020 shows the view of Baishatan park in Xining, northwest China's Qinghai Province. In recent years, Xining has continuously increased the green area at urban area to improve city environment. (Xinhua/Wu Gang)

US attacks on China's contribution to protecting the environment and tackling global climate change are based purely on political purposes, and the US should take responsibility as a big power in global environment and climate affairs, said officials from China's environment authority.

The US is the country that emits the most greenhouse gases in the world. The current US government has not only ignored its own responsibilities on the issue of climate change, but has also abolished the domestic action plan to address climate change and has officially withdrawn from the "Paris Agreement," Li Gao, head of the climate change office at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), said at the ministry's monthly press conference.

The US is shirking its responsibility and the international community can see this, Li said, adding that the US should concentrate on fulfilling its commitments and responsibilities and take concrete actions to work with other countries to jointly tackle global climate change.

Li said that while China has actively responded to climate change over the years, it has also taken measures to actively help other developing countries cope with climate change and promote green and low-carbon development. This has been highly praised by the international community, especially developing countries.

China values the construction of an ecological civilization and has seen achievements such as improving the quality of the country's air and water, Liu Youbin, a spokesperson for MEE said on Wednesday at the press conference. 

Liu quoted "A review of 20 Years' Air Pollution Control in Beijing" published by the UNEP in 2019, which noted that "over the last 20 years the city has implemented a series of measures including energy infrastructure optimization, coal-fired pollution control and vehicle emission controls. These efforts successfully reduced air pollution." 

"We learn from the beneficial experiences and practices of various countries in the world in terms of ecological and environmental protection, and humbly listen to opinions and suggestions on China's ecological and environmental protection work, but we cannot accept unwarranted accusations for political purposes," Liu said.

China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

According to Li, during the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) and 15th Five-Year Plan (2026-30), China plans to conduct action to bring CO2 emissions to a peak, and to make clear the goals and plans. These actions will be included in the national ecology and environment inspection by the central government.

Li said that in 2019, China proposed reducing CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by the end of 2020 compared to 2005, and that non-fossil energy should account for about 15 percent of primary energy consumption. There are also plans for the forest area to increase by 40 million hectares compared to 2005.