BEIJING – Spectacularly sunny and clear skies in Beijing the past two days – and generally most of this year so far – have made residents here (or at least this one resident) appreciative of the Chinese government's efforts to address climate change.
A news report on Wednesday revealed China's plans to produce a fifth of its energy needs from renewable sources, including solar and wind power, by the year 2020.
China's National Development and Reform Commission – which was the source for the news report – also said Wednesday that it plans to promote the use of 120 million compact energy-saving fluorescent light bulbs with the use of subsidies. That measure alone would help save 6.2 billion kilowatt hours of electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6.2 million tons, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
It's just one of a series of steps the Chinese leadership has taken to address climate change.
But the U.S. says China's still not doing enough.
"Even if every other country in the world cut its emissions 80 percent by 2050…China's business-as-usual emissions alone would cause global average temperatures to increase by 2.7 degrees centigrade," warned U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy David Sandalow earlier this week in a speech delivered in Beijing.
Sandalow was joined by U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern and President Barack Obama's Science Advisor John Holdren on a trip to China this week. They arrived hot on the heels of a series of visits by high-level U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. John Kerry, to discuss energy and climate change.
Special Envoy Stern spoke to NBC News in a TV exclusive about their trip and what the U.S. wants to see more of from China on tackling climate change.
|VIDEO: China launches green revolution|