Addressing the climate challenge

China’s president, Hu Jintao, yesterday delivered a major speech on climate change at the United Nations General Assembly. Here, chinadialogue publishes the text in full.

Mr secretary-general, dear colleagues.

Global climate change has a profound impact on the survival and development of mankind. It is a major challenge facing all countries.

I wish to highlight here a few principles that we need to follow in our common endeavour to tackle this issue of climate change. First, fulfilling our respective responsibilities should be at the core of our efforts. The principle of common, but differentiated responsibilities embodies the consensus of the international community. Adherence to this principle is critical to keeping international cooperation on climate change on the right track.

Second, achieving mutual benefit and win-win outcomes should be the goal of our effort. Developed countries should support developing countries in tackling climate change. This not only is their responsibility, but also serves their long-term interests.

We should make our endeavour on climate change a win-win for both developed and developing countries and a win-win for both the interests of individual countries and the common interests of humanity.

Third, promoting common development should be the basis of our effort. We should and can only advise our efforts to tackle climate change in the course of development and meeting this challenge is a common development.

It is imperative to give full consideration to the development stage and basic needs of developing countries while we address climate change. The international community should pay close attention to the difficulties facing the developing countries, especially the small island states, the least developed countries, landlocked countries and African countries.

We should combine our efforts to address climate change with efforts to promote the growth of developing countries and build up their own dynamism for development and their ability for sustainable development.

Fourth, ensuring financing and technology is the key to our success of the effort.

Developed countries should take up their responsibility and provide new, additional, adequate and predictable financial support to developing countries to enable them to have access to climate-friendly technologies.

Dear colleagues, out of a sense of responsibility to its own people and people across the world, China has taken and will continue to take determined and practical steps to tackle this challenge. China has adopted and is implementing its national climate change programme. This includes mandatory national targets for reducing energy intensity and discharge of major pollutants and increasing forest coverage and the share of renewable energy for the period of 2005 through 2010.

In the years ahead, China will further integrate our actions on climate change into our economic and social development tasks and take the following forceful measures. First, we will intensify our effort to conserve energy and improve energy efficiency. We will endeavour to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level.

Second, we will vigorously develop renewable energy and nuclear energy. We will endeavour to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 15% by 2020.

Third, we will energetically increase forest carbon sinks; we will endeavor to increase forest coverage by 40 million hectares and forest stock volume by 1.3 billion cubic meters by 2020 from the 2005 levels.

Fourth, we will step up our efforts to develop green economy, low carbon economy and circular economy and enhance research, development and dissemination of climate-friendly technologies.

Dear colleagues, China stands ready to work with all countries to build an even better future for the generations to come.

Thank you all.

Hu Jintao is the president of the People’s Republic of China

This speech was delivered on September 22 to the United Nations General Assembly, its original title was "Working together to address the climate change challenge".

Homepage image: Marco Castro/ UN Photo