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China takes lead in Paris Agreement ratification

Fu Jing
Updated: Aug 26,2016 9:18 AM     China Daily

China will take the lead among the world’s biggest carbon emitters in starting domestic procedures to ratify the Paris Agreement ahead of the G20 summit in Hangzhou.

The move comes as global heavyweight investors urged world leaders to speed up their own ratification process.

China’s legislators are scheduled to debate and review the Paris Agreement next week, which was agreed by over 190 members of the United Nations at the end of 2015, while the government has proposed ratifying the resolution, according to an earlier report.

While putting its domestic ratification procedure on track, China’s working group on climate change was talking with their colleagues in the United States on Tuesday, comparing notes before President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Barack Obama meet at the summit, a reliable source close to the talks told China Daily.

It is expected that the two leaders will emphasize climate cooperation again after three presidential declarations and statements were signed during their previous meetings, which laid a solid foundation for the success of climate talks in Paris last year.

Shortly after the G20 summit, a climate working team from China will fly to Germany and the European Union headquarters to discuss cooperation, the source said, indicating that this visit may help strengthen cooperation on the emission trading system between China and the EU.

Beijing has pledged to set up a national carbon trading market in 2017.

In another development, Reuters reported on Wednesday that investors managing more than $13 trillion of assets urged leaders of the G20 to ratify a global climate deal by the end of 2016 and to step up efforts to shift from fossil fuels.

A total of 130 investors wrote a letter to G20 leaders and also called on them to double global investment in clean energy, develop carbon pricing and phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

Among backers were the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the Swedish National Pension Funds, Aegon, AustralianSuper, the Church of England Pensions Board and the New York City Comptroller, it said.

“The Paris Agreement provides a clear signal to investors that the transition to the low-carbon clean energy economy is inevitable and already under way,” the investors wrote to G20 leaders before the Sept 4-5 summit in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province.

The letter called on the G20 to “complete your process for joining/ratifying the Paris Agreement in 2016 if possible”.

While the United Nations started the one-year domestic ratification procedure in April, major emitters of greenhouse gases, led by China and the United States, have said they will formally join up to the Paris Agreement this year.

But no G20 nation has yet completed the process. France has ratified it but is waiting to submit documents with other European Union nations. Some EU members have ruled out the possibility of ratifying the agreements this year while, so far, there is no timetable in the EU to ratify it.

The UN says that 23 smaller nations representing only 1.1 percent of global emissions have completed the formalities. The deal requires at least 55 nations representing 55 percent of global emissions to become law.

China and the US emit more than 40 percent of the world’s total, highlighting the significance of cooperation between the world’s largest economies. The G20 countries account for a majority of the world’s carbon pollutants.

Though the US had pledged to ratify the Paris Agreement this year, so far there is no timetable visible.

The investors said that countries ratifying the agreement quickly would be “better able to attract investment in low and zero carbon energy solutions”.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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