China will fulfill its climate pledge for 2030 and continue to play a leading role in global efforts, said Xie Zhenhua, Chinese special representative on climate change affairs, in San Francisco.
Xie made the remarks at a news conference following the conclusion of the three-day Global Climate Action Summit, which opened on Sept 12.
A Chinese delegation of over 120 government officials, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and researchers attended the summit. China and California also hosted a China pavilion to explore solutions to climate change.
“I’ve heard positive feedback from all summit representatives. They are impressed by the number of Chinese delegates. We also are impressed that so many people, including California’s governor, international leaders and United Nations representatives, were attracted by the China pavilion,” said Xie.
He said another highlight of the summit was seeing Chinese entrepreneurs and philanthropists take the global stage to play a more important role in fighting climate change.
During the summit, 10 Chinese philanthropic organizations, foundations and research institutions launched the Global Climate Action Initiative with a view to giving full support to the Chinese government as it acts to honor a series of climate change commitments made by President Xi Jinping.
These commitments include making a national contribution to the global effort to curb climate change, promoting South-South cooperation in curbing climate change and building a “green” Belt and Road Initiative.
The action initiative also called on Chinese society as well as the wider international community to actively respond to climate change and take immediate action to encourage sustainable development in order to achieve a global ecological civilization.
Xie said Michael Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and former New York City mayor, has accepted the offer to co-chair the action initiative with him to encourage China and the rest of the world to curb climate change.
“China has overcome enormous difficulties and made enormous contributions (to global climate efforts),” said Xie.
In advance of the 2015 Paris climate accord, China pledged to begin reducing total greenhouse gas emissions by around 2030, lower these emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 60 to 65 percent from 2005 levels, increase the share of nonfossil fuel energy in total energy consumption to around 20 percent and increase forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters from 2005 levels.
China cut its 2005 carbon intensity level by 46 percent in 2017, three years ahead of its goal of 40 to 45 percent by 2020. The country increased its forest stock volume to 15.1 billion cubic meters in 2015, five years ahead of its 2020 target.
The share of non-fossil fuel energy in total energy consumption is 13.8 percent in China, and it’s likely to realize the goal of 15 percent by 2020, said Xie.
“China will 100 percent realize its goals for 2020, and even earlier, which will lay the foundation for achieving the goals for 2030,” he said.
China invested $127.7 billion in developing renewable energy in 2017, ranking it first in the world for six consecutive years. Its renewable power installed capacity reached 650 million kilowatts in 2017, accounting for 30 percent of the world’s total, according to Xie.
“China has made remarkable achievements in renewable energy development. Its new technologies and large-scale manufacturing have greatly reduced costs, allowing renewable energy sources to compete with traditional energy sources,” said Xie.
China’s expected 41 trillion-yuan ($5.97 trillion) investment by 2030 creates a huge market and also drives technological innovation, said Xie.
He also stressed the importance of broadened cooperation at a wide range of levels in fighting climate change. “Climate cooperation has been a highlight of China-US relations. Tensions on the national level do not prevent cooperation on the local level, which will benefit both countries,” said Xie.