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China in action to address global climate change

Updated: Nov 28,2015 2:16 PM     Xinhua

BEIJING — The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris will open on Nov 30 with representatives from 195 countries and the European Union gathering together to hammer out a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious deal to address climate change.

As a key participant in a global fight against climate change, China has been making its due contribution for the goal.

Recent years have witnessed China’s concrete efforts on environmental management, energy saving and emission reduction and low-carbon technology development.

The largest developing country has also actively participated in international negotiations and supported developing countries in combating climate change.

In September, China and the United States issued a second joint statement on climate change, following their first in November 2014, sending a strong signal that the biggest two economies in the world will join hands to tackle the global challenge.

China has also issued joint statements on climate change with India, Brazil, the European Union and France.

According to the joint China-France statement on climate change issued during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to Beijing in early November, the two countries agree to have a five-year review process to assess and strengthen national commitments to make sure that there won’t be more than two degrees of global warming by the end of the century.

In the 13th Five-Year Plan for 2016-2020, China pledges to implement its mitigation promises in adherence with the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities in light of national circumstances.

China submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in June, in which it promises to cut its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, increase non-fossil fuel sources in primary energy consumption to about 20 percent and peak its carbon emissions by the same date.

Li Junfeng, director of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, said the announcement of the 2030 goal, though a compulsory action for China as a party to the UNFCCC, shows China’s resolution to follow a path of green and low-carbon development.

“This is not at request by others but on our own initiative,” said Li.

In fact, China’s current economic slowdown is closely related to its reform and adjustment of economic structure and pledge for green growth.

In the closing ceremony of a China-France forum on climate change and green economy in early November, Premier Li Keqiang said it is indeed a challenge for developing countries to address climate change.

“It will bring pains and pressure in the process, yet, in the end, it will bring the continued and healthy economic development in return,” the Premier said.

China’s pledges to sustainable development and its efforts to curb climate change have been welcomed and recognized by the international community.

The UN’s top climate official Christiana Figueres said at a recent press briefing that China has taken “impressive” action to combat climate change.

“China has taken an undisputed leadership (on addressing climate change),” she said. The country is moving much more swiftly to transform its economy than any other countries, she added.

While making progress in its own climate change fight, China has provided assistance within its capability to other developing countries.

President Xi announced in September that China will set up a South-South cooperation fund worth 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) to help other developing countries cope with the effects of climate change, a move that won big applause from developing countries.

As an emerging economy, China offers a concrete pledge to fight global warming, said Peruvian Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, adding that the positive and generous step will benefit those developing countries that are short on funds.

Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group vice president and special envoy for climate change, said that it is necessary to help every economy move toward lower carbon and support them with funds, especially those least developed countries.

China’s generous offer was a new move and received very positive echoes, she said.

Marie Claire Aoun, director of the energy center of the French Institute of International Relations, said China has put environmental governance at the same important position as those of economic development and poverty reduction in recent years.

“Now China has prepared to actively engage in international talks on climate change so as to jointly promote the negotiations to yield successful results,” Aoun said.