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China to reduce carbon intensity by up to 45% by 2020
Climate change increasingly seen as a threat to security
27 November 2009
?The Chinese government sees climate change as far more than a risk on the horizon - it represents a direct threat to the ruling party and to the country?s national security,? says international business and security consultant Andrew K.P. Leung.
For the first time, Beijing has stated that China will reduce its carbon intensity by 40-45% by 2020 compared with 2005 levels. The proposed reduction, occurring at a difficult time for the Chinese economy, highlights that China perceives climate change as a threat. Indeed, the fast-growing economy is also home to one sixth of the world?s population, and the stability of the Chinese government depends on its capacity to deliver some 20 million new jobs every year. In this context, the government?s efforts could very well be hampered by the effects of climate change in the coming years.
Qin Gang, spokesman of the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, confirmed that Premier Wen will head the Chinese delegation at the summit. His presence, he added, "demonstrates the great importance the Chinese government gives to climate change and its political will to work with the international community on this issue" and give a major contribution to the global effort in tackling climate change.
The announced 2020 carbon intensity target is a cut relative to GDP. It will not mean an actual drop in absolute emissions but it will slow the growth of emissions, unless China?s economy stops growing at its current rapid pace. The sign is encouraging, though, and China?s move confirms its growing concern about the security implications of climate change and the will to mitigate its impacts on the country?s stability.