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China shares climate stage with California

By LIA ZHU in San Francisco | Updated: 2018-09-12 01:22

Having a long, successful partnership on the climate and clean energy, China and California will display their leadership role in fighting climate change at the Global Climate Action Summit this week.

From Wednesday to Friday, California Governor Jerry Brown will host more than 4,000 international delegates at the summit in San Francisco to "Take Ambition to the Next Level".

Featuring 25 breakout sessions, more than 325 affiliate events and over 500 major climate commitments, the summit will celebrate the achievements of states, regions, cities, companies and citizens and call for national governments to raise their ambitions for climate action by 2020.

"We're running out of time. There's been some backsliding since Paris, and our summit … aims to increase the commitments that have already been made in Paris, to make them even greater, and thereby build the momentum going into the conference of the parties at Poland," Brown said in a statement.

China, as a key partner in the summit, will organize a three-day forum — "China Pavilion" — in collaboration with the state of California, on the sidelines of the summit.

Numerous sessions will be held on carbon finance, cities' climate action, carbon pricing, energy efficiency, zero-emissions vehicles and other topics.

California and China will issue a joint statement on friendship, economic development and climate change. Governments, academic institutions and non-governmental organizations also will sign a series of memoranda of understanding.

Local representatives from China and California will speak about topics such as energy transition, efficiency improvement and grid integration, as well as exchange ideas on green and low-carbon collaboration.

"During this important period, the summit will help mobilize the national, subnational, business and society as a whole to demonstrate their actions and determinations, which will not only advance the global climate governance process, but also push forward the global green and low-carbon transformations," said Xie Zhenhua, special representative for climate change affairs of China and one of the five co-chairs of the summit, in a statement.

California became the first state government to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government on regulating greenhouse emissions in 2015.

As the Trump administration reversed US policies on global warming last year, Brown traveled to China to meet with top Chinese leaders on climate issues.

China has shown interest in California's approach to fighting climate change and the state's carbon cap-and-trade program has served as a prototype for the country's new carbon markets.

Building a well-functioning national carbon market is essential for tackling climate change and achieving low-carbon development in China.

China started seven local emissions-trading pilots in 2011 and initiated its national emissions trading scheme with the power sector in late 2017.

During the forum, representatives from emissions-trading pilot provinces and cities in China, as well as from the EU and California, will share experiences on their carbon markets.

They also will discuss with experts how to optimize China's national emissions-trading system.

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