COPENHAGEN, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- China's population of 1.3 billion presented a special difficulty in cutting emissions but it would do whatever was within its capacity to address global climate change, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday.
China's per capita GDP has only just exceeded 3,000 U.S. dollars and, according to UN standards, China still had 150 million people living below the poverty line, Wen said in his speech, delivered at the opening session of the final summit segment of the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen.
The premier said China faced the arduous task of developing the economy and improving people's livelihoods.
"China is now at an important stage of accelerated industrialization and urbanization, and, given the predominant role of coal in our energy mix, we are confronted with a special difficulty in emissions reduction," Wen said.
However, China had always regarded addressing climate change as an important strategic task, he said, adding that, between 1990 and 2005, China's carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP were reduced by 46 percent.
"Building on that, we have set the new target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 40-45 percent by 2020 from the 2005 level, " Wen told delegates from all across the world.
"To reduce carbon dioxide emissions on such a large scale and over such an extended period of time will require tremendous efforts on our part. Our target will be incorporated into China's mid- and long-term plan for national economic and social development as a mandatory one to ensure that its implementation is subject to supervision by the law and public opinion," Wen said.
"We will further enhance the domestic statistical, monitoring and evaluation methods, improve the way emissions reduction information is released, increase transparency and actively engage in international exchange, dialogue and cooperation," the Chinese premier said.