World Insights: China's solid green development contributes to improving global climate governance amid global polycrisis

0 Print E-mail Xinhua, November 16, 2022
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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has been hitting the headlines the world over with the North-South debate on climate change heating up since its opening.

The gathering takes place as the world has been afflicted with a global polycrisis. During the past year, overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries were suffering from geopolitical conflicts, elevated energy and food prices, soaring inflation, and last but not least - frequent extreme weather conditions.

Using the energy shortage as an excuse, some European countries have fallen back to traditional energy sources such as coal. Hit by the financial crisis, some have temporarily put aside the battle against climate change.

Meanwhile, developing countries battered by climate disasters are craving for financial and technical support, while developed countries have never fulfilled their pledge made in 2009 to provide 100 billion U.S. dollars annually in climate finance.

Under such challenging global circumstances, as a participant and leader in the process of and contributor to enhancing global ecological conservation, China has always been committed to a path of green development, contributing to enhancing global climate governance through a wide range of pragmatic actions.

LOSS AND DAMAGE

At COP27, loss and damage is a frequently mentioned topic. With the joint efforts of a large number of developing countries, the loss and damage funding was introduced as an agenda item for the first time in the 30-year history of the UN climate change conference.

However, the vulnerable countries are strongly demanding climate damage compensations at COP27, to which developed countries, who made historical contributions to global climate change, have turned a deaf ear.

Disappointing still is not only their failure to repay the climate debt they owed to poor countries, but their reckless reopening of coal power plants, which jeopardizes global progress in reducing emissions.

Such retrogressive and irresponsible behaviors are blasted by developing countries, not least the vulnerable ones susceptible to the impacts of imminent global climate change.

Naz Baloch, member of Pakistan's National Assembly and parliamentary secretary on climate change, pointed out that the developed countries have been reluctant to fulfill their pledge to provide 100 billion dollars in climate finance as they do not "understand the significance of climate change and have their own priorities."

"What happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan," said Baloch. "No country is immune to climate change."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni lashed out at Europe's return to coal energy, deeming it "brazen double standards" towards Africa in its climate and energy policies.

"We will not accept one rule for them and another rule for us," Museveni wrote in his blog released at COP27.

Magdy Allam, an Egyptian climate and environment expert, also accused Europe of "escaping its climate change obligation," saying that the energy crisis in Europe "shows the world that we should search for alternatives and turn to the green economy and change our concepts of consuming energy."

"We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit, adding that "the planet is fast approaching the tipping point that will make climate chaos irreversible."

"Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish," the UN chief warned at the leader summit.

TOGETHER FOR IMPLEMENTATION

As the main slogan of COP27, "Together for Implementation" calls on representatives of developing countries to speak up with a louder and stronger collective voice.

"What do we need? Climate justice!" "We need your help!" chanted a group of advocates wearing traditional costumes of South Pacific countries at the COP27 venue.

"We hope that COP27 can begin to make a change just like what people are talking about, moving pledge into implementation. Climate finance is the building block, and this is the core problem that we need to resolve," said Satyendra Prasad, Fiji's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, at the Moana blue pacific pavilion organized by 14 South Pacific countries that are most prone to climate change.

South Pacific countries need "speedy" funds to battle climate change, he said, adding that the climate finance Fiji received over the past years only accounts for 10 percent of the required amount.

"We realize the pain because we've been through it, and we want the rest of the world to understand how tough it is. We should act before it's too late," Baloch said.

The UN chief expressed his support for developing countries in demanding climate finance. "Adaptation needs in the developing world are set to skyrocket to as much as 340 billion U.S. dollars a year by 2030. Yet adaptation support today stands at less than one-tenth of that amount," Guterres said.

"The most vulnerable people and communities are paying the price. This is unacceptable," he stressed.

Xie Zhenhua, special representative for Chinese President Xi Jinping and China's special envoy for climate change, also made clear China's position on this issue.

"It has been 13 years since developed countries pledged 100 billion dollars a year at the Copenhagen conference in 2009, but it has not yet been fulfilled until now," he said.

"What we need to do here is not to renegotiate the Paris Agreement, but to translate commitments into action and produce solid results," the Chinese envoy noted.

"There are many ways to support clean energy in the developing world, one of them is the promise of 100 billion dollars annually and I really hope that the advanced economies will honor their commitments, either during this COP27 or right after," Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) told Xinhua.

STORY OF HOPE

As a responsible developing country, China not only stands in solidarity with other developing countries at COP27, but also makes its due contributions to combating global climate change with pragmatic actions.

During the past decade, China has made impressive progress in reducing carbon emissions and achieving renewable transition.

From 2012 to 2021, China sustained average economic growth of 6.6 percent with an annual increase of 3 percent in energy consumption. Carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP reduced by 34.4 percent, and energy consumption per unit of GDP decreased by 26.4 percent, equivalent to saving of 1.4 billion tonnes of standard coal.

China also drew a timetable and roadmap for carbon peak and carbon neutrality, and steadily promote energy transformation with installed capacities of hydropower, wind power and solar power generation ranking first in the world. China has become a major producer and buyer of new energy vehicles and established the world's largest carbon market, three times bigger than the European Union's.

In 2018, China incorporated ecological advancement into its Constitution for the first time.

"All the efforts that China has announced are very much appreciated. Raising the ambition in accelerating the climate action for more reduction of emissions would be vital to the whole world climate and for saving our humanity," said Egypt's Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad.

During talks with the Chinese delegation at COP27, the UN chief praised China's accelerating green transformation and focus on pragmatic actions as well as China's efforts in developing renewable energy.

Guterres voiced hope that the Chinese delegation will continue to exert its influence during COP27, strengthen communication and coordination with all parties, and contribute to the global response to climate change.

China's strenuous effort in developing renewable energy to replace fossil fuels has been a "story of hope" in fighting climate change, said Kevin Conrad, executive director of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations.

"China for us is a good example of the types of investment that need to be made. China is showing the world hope," he said. Enditem

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