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China's emissions cut target injects momentum into Copenhagen climate summit: UNDP

BEIJING (Xinhua) - A high-ranking United Nations official on Saturday said China's decision to dramatically cut its carbon emissions would inject a momentum in leading up to the upcoming Copenhagen climate summit.

"That is a very important and ambitious target... The announcement injects a momentum in leading up to the Copenhagen summit," United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark said before ending her three-day China visit.

Clark made the comments on China's pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 compared with levels in 2005.

Clark said China was determined to meet the target and would look for support and ideas in meeting those targets.

"We stand ready to mobilize expertise and support which will help china with that," Clark said.

Together with the country's emissions cut goal, "Premier Wen Jiabao and his substantial delegation also add momentum to the summit," Clark said.

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However, she downplayed the outcome of the Copenhagen summit, which will run from Dec. 7 to Dec. 18, saying major countries' "aspiration is a political document" rather than a legally binding treaty.

"It may be difficult to reach a high quality, new climate agreement in Copenhagen," Clark said. "But such a deal is urgently needed."

Clark dismissed the speculation that China's new carbon cut goal would slow down its economic growth.

"I think China has calculated correctly that going green is entirely consistent with lifting living standards and developing economically," she said.

"If you don't go green, the chance of seeking a sustainable development in the future will be diminished," Clark said.

The message registered here, Clark emphasized, was that there would be considerable economic and business opportunities in going green.

In 2030, it is estimated that 350 million more people will live in Chinese cities as compared to 2005, according to a UNDP report.

"Accommodating them presents a unique opportunity to build green, urban communities from the start," Clark said.

As the world's third biggest economy and the biggest developing country, China is pursuing the policy of "seeking a balance between economic growth and environmental protection, which is an important international message," the UNDP chief said.

As one of China's first development partners after the reform and opening-up drive was launched in 1978, UNDP is now assisting China as it seeks to use more renewable energy.

"This is an area where China can be a world leader, exporting knowledge and technology, and demonstrating that economic growth is fully compatible with protecting our planet," Clark said.

"It is important to integrate climate and broader environmental considerations into our development thinking and planning," she said.


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