Spotlight: China walks the talk in managing climate change

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by Xinhua writer Zhang Xu

MARRAKECH, Morocco, (Xinhua) — Braving the chills in Marrakech, delegates attending a United Nations conference on climate change crossed through low-carbon fabricated pavilions, pondering pragmatic prescriptions to curb the fever gripping mother Earth.

As has been always the case, China, as the largest developing country, has taken concrete moves to act on its pledges on this issue of global concern.

From billions of dollars in climate investment over the years to Yangtze electric shuttle buses serving the conference in Marrakech, one can see China’s role as a positive force behind endeavors to save the planet.

As Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai put it, “whatever other countries may do or may not do, China will continue to make genuine efforts to respond to climate change to seek to realize green and sustainable development.”

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AS STRATEGY

Since 1997, when sustainable development was set as a national strategy, China has been stressing its crucial role both domestically and at world forums.

Last September, while chairing a United Nations roundtable on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled the country’s national plan for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

As the first national blueprint that specifies various domains and concrete goal-oriented measures, the plan comprehensively expounds China’s development policy and its efforts to help other developing countries forge ahead with the process of global implementation.

Pursuing sustainable development is the fundamental solution to all kinds of global problems, the premier said, adding that as a responsible developing country, China is willing to join in relevant international efforts and continuously increase investment in South-South cooperation.

SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION

“China plays a ‘very important’ role in promoting and consolidating South-South partnership,” said Salaheddine Mezouar, president of the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22), on Saturday.

Cooperation among developing countries, with its great potential in managing climate change, is a main area of discussion at COP22, to help developing economies come up with common responses to their pressing needs.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative on climate change affairs, said here Monday that China stands ready to continue contributing to global efforts in addressing climate change through South-South cooperation.

China is willing to share its best practices, including in capacity-building, with other developing countries, Xie told the opening session of a forum on South-South cooperation.

With 27 MoUs signed and many regional dialogues and exchanges, China has made considerable donations to other developing countries to help them address climate change issues according to their own requirements, Xie said.

CHINA’S CONTRIBUTION

Standing as an active contributor in the global climate campaign, China, itself still a developing country, now tops the world in conservation efforts and utilization of new and renewable energies.

Since 2011, China has earmarked around 85 million U.S. dollars for low-carbon, energy-saving, capacity-building and other projects in developing countries.

“China becomes the largest investor for renewable energies across the world,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. “It shows the Chinese commitment towards climate change and tackling air pollution.”

Earlier November, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Erik Solheim, hailed China’s contribution to advancing the global green agenda, commending China for its “robust leadership” in advancing the December 2015 Paris Agreement.

Signed during COP21, the Paris Agreement entered into force on Nov. 4, committing its 180 signatories to limiting global warming to under 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

At the Paris climate summit in late 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated China’s pledge to cut its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65 percent from the 2005 levels by 2030.

On Monday in Marrakech, Xie, China’s top climate change envoy, reaffirmed the country’s plan to set up a 20 billion yuan (2.93 billion U.S. dollars) fund for South-South cooperation, to help establish low-carbon model parks, implement mitigation and adaption projects, and train personnel in developing countries.

Laura Tuck, vice president for sustainable development of the World Bank, on Friday praised as “impressive” China’s planned Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which will be worth 50 billion dollars, the largest in the world.

China is the first developing country to set up a national carbon emissions trading market, based on its seven pilots that are running now.

Xie Ji, deputy chief of the Chinese delegation to COP22, said on Thursday that China has set up an ambitious target of reaching the peaking of CO2 emissions around the year 2030.

“Many cities promised they can reach their peaking before 2030, and a few cities are trying to achieve the target around 2020,” Xie said, adding that many industries, especially energy intensive ones, were asked to cut CO2 emissions and try to reach the peaking around 2020.

Editor:huaxia