China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi focused on climate change during his moment in the CGI spotlight yesterday:

For developing countries like China, whose level of economic development is still low and whose people are yet to live a better life, the most depressing issue for them is to grow the economy and raise people’s living standards.

Efforts to tackle climate change should promote economic development and not be pursued at the expense of the economic development.

On the other hand, we must not fail to see that the economic development model of high-energy consumption, high pollution, and high emissions is not sustainable. And the path of pursuing development first and treating pollution next is not a viable one.

The best environment policy is also the best economic policy. Countries should all incorporate environmental protection into their overall economic development strategies and take resolute measure to follow a path of sustainable development …

[China] released a national program on climate change in June, the first developing country to do so.

China has contributed its share to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by carrying out a series of policy measures, including economic adjustment, improving the energy mix, raising energy efficiency, and forestation.

Statistics show that by raising energy efficiency alone, China saved 800 million tons of standard coal from 1991 to 2005 and the equivalent of reducing 1.8 billion tons of CO2 …

The Chinese government will, as always, promote and participate in international cooperation on climate change. It will continue to take an active part in the negotiations on environmental conventions concerning climate change and the biodiversity among trade and the environment.

In all, it was a pretty decent statement, if a somewhat predictable one. It’s better by miles than anything we’ve heard from the Bush administration, which refused to participate in this week’s climate meeting at the U.N. in any meaningful way, using — as it always has — China’s assumed intransigence as an excuse.