Helen Clark: China and India Low Carbon Pursuits Central to Global Sustainability

May 16, 2012

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
China-India Low Carbon Study Launch
Beijing, 16 May 2012

Dr. R.K. Pachauri, Director-General of the Energy and Resource Institute of India,
Mr. Gao Guangsheng, Director-General Inspector, Department of Climate change, National Development and Reform Commission,
Mr. Li Junfeng, Director-General, National Climate Change Strategy Center in China, of

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good Afternoon!

I am pleased to be participating in this launch of the China-India Low Carbon Study. Led jointly by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China and the Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) of India, the study will examine the barriers to pursuing a low-carbon development path, and assess the range of policy instruments available for a low carbon future.

Last week in Indonesia, UNDP launched a new Asia-Pacific Human Development report on climate change: “One Planet to Share”. It argues that the developing countries of this region are much less locked into the old, carbon-intensive ways of growth, and therefore have the opportunity to manage development differently. 

In the transition to a green and inclusive economy, human development can be advanced and the integrity of ecosystems maintained.

Conversely, a failure to make this transition condemns the world’s people and our planet to an unsustainable and inequitable future which is not conducive for peace, harmony, and stability. 

The ways in which China and India develop is of importance not only to these two great nations and their peoples, but also to our whole world. Both are investing considerable time, effort, and resources in building more sustainable futures.

China has already set a carbon-intensity reduction target of seventeen per cent, and intends to achieve it by 2015 under its 12th Five-Year Plan. India is taking into account low carbon development and inclusive growth as it drafts its 12th Five-Year Plan. 

At the 15th session of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties in Copenhagen, India and China pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of their GDP by 20-25 per cent and 40-45 per cent respectively by 2020, relative to their 2005 levels.

The joint study being launched tonight by NDRC and TERI offers the opportunity for these two countries, which together account for more than one third of the world’s total population, to work together on identifying the barriers to and the opportunities for pursuing a low carbon development path, and the range of policy instruments available to achieve that.

China’s NDRC organizes the formulation of strategies, plans, and policies in China for tackling climate change. In this joint study, I understand NDRC will be supported by three significant research institutions: the National Center for Climate Strategy and International Co-operation, the Central University of Finance and Economics, and Zhejiang University.

India’s TERI is a globally recognized research institute, working in the area of energy, environment, other natural resources, and sustainable development. TERI continuously seeks to expand the reach of its policy research and will be a crucial partner in this two-nation study.

The 2010 National Human Development Report for China, with which UNDP was associated, examined the potential benefits and risks of shifting to a low carbon economy and society, and has stimulated discussion on low carbon development here. UNDP now looks forward to a close partnership with NDRC and TERI on such issues through this study, which we hope will contribute further to low carbon development in China and India, and will be of wide international interest.

Thank you very much.

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