It’s been many years since we first started hearing about climate change, with international experts alerting about the terrible consequences it would have for humanity at a long term. And since not so many years we realized that consequences might come sooner than expected, with natural disasters happening around the world more frequently than before. Climate change is a reality, and the results are very noticeable.
Since 1997 we have also been hearing about the Kyoto protocol which since 2005, when it was reinforced, tries to limit the greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. The protocol, signed by the industrialized countries, has received constant critics due to the lack of commitment by the signing countries, among which there is China. With a growth rate with almost no precedents, China has often been criticized for a lack of respect to the environment, although some less critic voice tried to remind this was the same path Europe took during the industrial revolution.
In any case, it is true that China faces great challenges when it comes to the environment which affect firstly the Chinese society, the health and safety of its citizens, and which accelerate climate change. In a country with more than 1300 million people, the low-quality and scarcity of water are usually a problem. This great economic growth the country is experiencing has been boosted by an even greater industrial revolution, often out of control, which also affects the quality of the air Chinese citizens breath. Nowadays, phone applications to know the pollution levels before leaving the house in the morning are as common as those to know what the weather will be like in other countries. And there’s no need to say that with cities of 15 and 20 million inhabitants, like Beijing and Shanghai, pollution caused by cars is another aggravating problem.
This 23rd of September New York held the Climate Summit at the United Nations Headquarters, which gathered, among others, 100 heads of State and governments along with 800 businessmen, experts and representatives of civil society in order to push an action plan to stop climate change.
Among the attendees there was also representation from the government in Beijing, which the 19th of September already approved an action plan to fight climate change. China is currently the number one greenhouse gas emitter, and with this action plan the government intends to influence climate change process and ratify its commitment with the international community.
The proposal, presented by the National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC), pretends to achieve the following goals:
- Achieve the goal of making sure at least 15% of the country’s energy consumption comes from renewable energy.
- Keep on expanding forested areas, which since 2005 have increased more than 1.3 trillion cubic meters.
- Reduce by 40% the greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 compared to the levels of 2005 when the Kyoto protocol was reinforced.
The Chinese government wanted to stress that the plan isn’t only a result of the country’s obligations with the International Community, but it is also essential for China’s good development.
These commitments, among many others, have been corroborated during the Summit in New York. Let’s hope the words turn into facts. As the summit concluded, we are still on time to slow down climate change, but it is essential to act now. There’s no plan B, because we don’t have a planet B.
For more detailed information you can check the United Nations Summit’s website.