China's legislature passed a resolution Wednesday signaling its interest in "actively dealing with climate change" by considering new laws and strengthening controls over greenhouse emissions.
The resolution, endorsed at the end of a four-day session by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, will help "accelerate" the country's attempts to tackle global warming, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. However, the legislation does not break new ground from China's previous statements on climate change.
China has sought to stake out its position ahead of a major climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark at the end of the year at which nations will seek to create a global framework for curbing the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change.
Recently surpassing the United States, China has become the largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide. The two nations account for 40 percent of the world's total.
China has not set a cap on its emissions, arguing that developed countries _ which are responsible for the bulk of the historic buildup in greenhouse gases _ should do so first.
The resolution said China will play an active role in international conferences and negotiations on climate change. At the same time, it repeated China's long-standing position that it will firmly "maintain the right to development" as a developing country, and opposes "any form of trade protectionism disguised as tackling climate change."
It also laid out China's position that developed nations should "take the lead" in setting clear targets in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and help developing countries with funds and technology transfers.
At the same time, China must commit to energy saving and emissions reductions by promoting energy-efficient technology and products while focusing on clean and renewable energy.
Efforts will be made to improve laws on environmental protection and climate change, and at the same time, strengthen supervision of enforcement of these laws to better deal with global warming.
The legislation follows an earlier report this month by several Chinese government bodies and academics that said China should "as soon as possible research and draft targets for relative and absolute caps in the total volume of carbon dioxide emissions" in order to reduce greenhouse gases by 2030.
The nearly 900-page "2050 China Energy and C02 Emissions Report" said that China's gross domestic product may exceed America's by that time, and its emissions of greenhouse gases will make up 20 to 25 percent of the world's total emissions.
If China implements cuts on the absolute amount of its emissions, then emissions of carbon dioxide will start to slow by 2020 and peak by 2030, the report said.