UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner
A high-ranking UN official on Sunday praised China for its efforts in saving energy and called President Hu Jintao's upcoming appearance at the UN climate change summit a "strong signal" sent to the world.
Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), made the remark during an event to designate Brazilian-born supermodel Gisele Bundchen as a Goodwill Ambassador of the organization to inspire action to protect the environment.
It is part of a series of activities being held during the Global Climate Week, which coincides with the UN summit on climate change to encourage world leaders to seal a fair and effective climate deal at the UN Copenhagen conference in December.
"Just in the last few years I have seen tremendous efforts by China on energy efficiency," Steiner told China Daily, pointing to the country's policies at reducing energy usage and investing in renewable energy. He also pointed out that China has become the world's largest wind power producer this year.
According to government statistics, China is well on its way to achieving its target of cutting energy use per unit of GDP by 20 percent by 2010, which will prevent about 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
The country's per capita greenhouse gas emissions stood at 3.58 tons in 2004.