China has been taking concrete measures to deal with climate change, air pollution and energy efficiency issues, says Chen Changhong, professor and director of Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences and Atmospheric Environment Institute in an interview with People's Daily Online reporter in Stockholm recently.
China shoulders CO2 emissions and pollution for the whole world
Chen Changhong said over the past 16 years, China has constantly explored a way of avoiding the old way of industrialization by polluting first and then treating. With more exchanges with the outside world, China has gradually realized the gap in air quality and environment compared with Europe and other western countries. Because nearly 70% of China's energy comes from coal, air pollution has been serious.
"Also due to the fast economic development, as a developing country and as a 'world factory', China is producing products for the whole world, but keeping pollution to its own land. Thus China shoulders the pollution and emission for the whole world in a large extend" , said professor Chen.
Thus the world should see China as a country which stands on the world production chain, and help China to improve technology in dealing with pollution and greenhouse gas emission.
China tackles the climate change and air pollution issues
Chen Changhong said that the Chinese government has paid great attention to solving the air pollution issue. The Law on Atmosphere has been issued. Since the 2004, China has made long term plans and implemented them in getting rid of SO2 in coal mines which are the major source of air pollution.
In the vast rural China, people also make use of methane produced by animal waste for heating, an effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emission.
In coastal areas, people's awareness in environment protection and climate change has been improved and they can make efforts together with the government to supervise and report air pollution and other pollution cases.
He said the government also made laws and regulations to direct enterprises to conduct clean production, for example to close down the out of dated high energy consumption and low technology enterprises and to encourage clean technology through tax reduction.
In eastern part of China such as Beijing and Shanghai, the Euro IV emission standards are taken for car emissions. Electric cars and buses are produced and used. In Shanghai, the bus only takes two minutes at the stop to recharge its battery.
Chen Changhong revealed that during the 2010 Shanghai World Expo, there will be an area especially for zero emission vehicles.
11th five year plan sets specific targets for saving energy and emissions
Professor Hu Tao from Beijing Normal University is also an advisor for the Ministry of Environment. He said that China ought to use the market economic means to improve its environment and reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emission while consolidating supervision.
He said environmental cost must be added to petrol, electricity and increase their price. China has recently increased the price of electricity.
Meanwhile, China encourages renewable energy development. The goal is to increase renewable energy by 10% in the composition of total energy by 2010, and 15% by 2020.
China is already the largest user of solar energy in the world. Beijing municipal government has given a lot of subsidies to energy-saving lamps. For example, the lamp is sold only at 20% of its original price so people are willing to buy it.
China is also seeking to build energy saving buildings with effective water recycling and saving methods being taken.
In Beijing, since 2005, every household has its own meter for gas and prepaid card for use of electricity so people can check how much they use and how much they can save.
Of course there are still big challenges for integrating the policies at all levels across the country, improving people's awareness in saving energy at all levels and how to get the good central policies be implemented effectively at the grassroot level.
By Xuefei Chen People's Daily Online correspondent in Stockholm.