China urges nations to use summit to tackle climate change

Demonstrators demanding work and aid from the Argentinian government at a rally in Buenos Aires on Monday, ahead of Friday's G-20 summit. China's top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said he hoped that developed countries would honour their commitments to t
Demonstrators demanding work and aid from the Argentinian government at a rally in Buenos Aires on Monday, ahead of Friday's G-20 summit. China's top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said he hoped that developed countries would honour their commitments to the Paris Agreement and provide the promised financial and technical support to poorer nations.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • China has called on countries to use the upcoming Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to tackle climate change issues and reaffirm their commitment to the landmark Paris climate accord, according to the country's top climate envoy.

"The vast majority of G-20 members attach great importance to combating climate change, so I believe the meeting will include such topics," Mr Xie Zhenhua said on Monday at a news conference on an annual report of China's policies and actions in combating climate change.

"We hope the G-20 meeting of the world's major economies will send a strong political signal, calling for more efforts to carry out the Paris climate agreement and the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," he said.

Mr Xie said he hoped that developed countries would honour their commitments to the Paris Agreement and provide the promised financial and technical support to poorer nations.

United States President Donald Trump said last year that he would pull out of the 2015 agreement, arguing that it was too lenient on China, the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter.

Mr Xie said Mr Trump's decision to withdraw from the pact hurt the confidence and resolution of many other countries, but its impact was now beginning to wane.

He said China's own commitments to clean, low-carbon development were unbending. "The country will deliver its promises 100 per cent and even better, no matter how other countries change their position or attitude," he said.

 
 
 

China has already met a target to cut carbon intensity - the amount of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of economic growth - by 40 per cent to 45 per cent from 2005 levels by 2020, and it is also on course to bring the share of non-fossil fuels to 15 per cent of total energy consumption by the end of the decade, Mr Xie said.

China was the world's biggest investor in renewable energy, and is in the process of establishing the world's largest carbon trading exchange, he added.

According to the latest UN Environment Programme estimates, China is one of three G-20 members on track to meet their nationally determined contribution targets. The other two members are Brazil and Japan.

Mr Xie said China hoped due negotiations on rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement can be concluded at the upcoming Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland, which includes the 24th session of the conference of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Air quality in the Chinese capital hit the worst in 18 months on Monday as China eased winter emission curbs amid an economic slowdown.

The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei cluster, which includes 28 major cities in the Beijing and Tianjin municipalities, and Hebei, Shandong, Shanxi and Henan provinces, has seen several bouts of smog since the start of last month.

CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, XINHUA, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 28, 2018, with the headline 'China urges nations to use summit to tackle climate change'. Print Edition | Subscribe