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Extreme Weather is Proving Costly for China

From CleanBiz.Asia, Published 19 November 2013

China’s extreme weather conditions has caused an average of more than 2,000 deaths and up to CNY200 billion (USD32.8 billion) of direct economic loss every year since the 1990s, according to Beijing's latest report on the nation's climate change strategies.

The Chinese government has warned that if there are no adequate measures to mitigate the damage caused by climate change, the losses will increase in the years to come.

The report, released during the ongoing United Nations Warsaw climate talks, outlines Beijing's efforts to reduce human and economic losses from the impacts of climate change until 2020.

"Facing that urgency, we will deliver our promises in addressing climate threats," said the head of China's delegation, Xie Zhenhua.

Xie has urged the international community, especially developed economies, to "live up to their words" in giving financial and technological assistance to poorer economies for climate adaptation.

He said China is currently considering a roadmap to address climate threats until 2030 and a leading group of Chinese experts has finished a research report. "We are still discussing the roadmap and report," said Xie, who is also vice-minister of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Xie explained China's continued efforts during the Warsaw conference, which aims to make all parties deliver on promises made at previous UN conventions and push forward international efforts to tackle climate threats.

Xie said China has pledged to cut its carbon intensity by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 base. From 2006 through 2013, China has cut carbon intensity by 28 percent.

Xie also said China has made efforts to diversify its energy mix to meet the target of making non-fossil fuels account for 15 percent of its entire energy consumption by 2020. The current rate is 9.6 percent and it is likely to reach 11.4 percent by 2015.

"To be honest, we have seen difficulties to reach that goal as we are facing challenges to further tap into nuclear and hydropower sources," Xie said.

However, he assured conference participants that China is committed to try and meet that target.

Xie stressed China would fulfill its commitments under the "global spotlight" and make the process transparent. "No matter what happens in international negotiations, China will spare no effort in transforming development patterns," Xie said.

He said President Xi Jinping, emphasizing China's role in tackling climate challenges, urged greater efforts in reducing emissions in China and more active participation in setting international rules on climate change.