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Climate change tops Chinese premier’s address at East Asia summit

By Xinhua

Singapore : Climate change and environmental issues took center stage during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s address at a regional summit here Wednesday.

Wen, who was in Singapore attending the 3rd East Asia Summit, outlined China’s views and position on climate change and its measures to tackle the problem.

The Chinese premier called climate a global issue and urged countries to work together to address the issue.

Developed countries should face up to their historical responsibilities, take the lead in cutting emissions and honor their commitment on technological transfer and financial aid to developing countries, he said.

Wen said climate change is “ultimately a development issue” and dismissed the notions of tackling climate change at the expense of economic growth or pursuing economic growth with no regard to climate change.

“We should pursue economic growth, social development and environmental protection in a coordinated and balanced way, and develop models of production and consumption compatible with sustainable development,” he said.

The “common but differentiated responsibilities” established by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change represent international consensus and all countries should uphold the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol as the basic framework for international cooperation, he said.

Given the decisive role technology plays in mitigating and adapting to climate change, the international community should increase financial input and information sharing and step up cooperation in research, development and innovation of technology, he said.

The Chinese premier said adaptation to climate change is of the greatest concerns to developing countries and it is a major part of the efforts to address climate change.

Developed countries should “actively help developing countries build capacity for adaptation and managing weather-related disasters,” Wen said.

China “has taken a number of policy measures to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and has made important progress in this effort” and the Chinese government takes environmental protection as a basic state policy, he said.

China has set specific targets on greenhouse gas emission control to be met in 2010, including cutting energy intensity of GDP by 20 percent from the 2005 level and freezing industrial emissions of nitrous oxide at the 2005 level, he said.

“China will shoulder its due international responsibilities and obligations,” he added.

Wen also called on China’s East Asian neighbors to join hands in addressing climate change and promoting harmonious, clean and sustainable development in East Asia.

At the end of the summit, Wen and leaders from Southeast Asian countries, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand signed the Singapore Declaration on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment.