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Beijing works to secure aid for countries

By HOU LIQIANG | China Daily | Updated: 2018-12-12 08:22
Environmental activist protests against fossil fuel in front of the the venue of the COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, on Dec 10, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Developing world needs help to offset effects of climate change, official says

Senior Chinese officials in climate negotiations reiterated that the country is developing and vowed that efforts to secure aid to ameliorate the effects of climate change in the developing world will continue.

The comments by the officials came as delegates from around the world were about to finish a key UN negotiation on climate change. They spoke on the sidelines of the ongoing 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland.

The conference is tasked with finalizing the implementation rules set by the 2015 Paris climate conference, which aims to keep global warming below 2 C above preindustrial levels. It opened on Dec 2 and is scheduled to close on Friday.

Some media reports and parties to the convention expressed doubts about China being a developing country, saying it is obliged, along with other developed countries, to offer more financial support to the developing world.

"On this they fail to have a proper understanding of China's national conditions," Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change affairs, said last week. "China is still a developing country. It is the largest developing country in the world."

The country's per capita GDP stands at about $8,800, just 80 percent of the global average, he noted. With its large numbers of poor people, the country faces enormous challenges in developing its economy and eradicating poverty, he said.

As required by international conventions, including the 2015 Paris agreement, it is the obligation of developed countries to offer financial support to developing countries because of their historical responsibilities and current capabilities. Developing countries like China can make voluntary contributions, he said.

Some observers have said that China, as the second-largest economy in the world, should not be eligible to receive financial support from developed countries; rather, it needs to help fill the financial gap faced by others.

But that view is "logically untenable" in the climate change negotiations, said Li Gao, head of the Department of Climate Change at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, on Saturday.

The current global warming situation is a result of the unrestrained carbon emissions of developed countries, Li said, adding that they bear the responsibility of reducing carbon emissions dramatically while offering financial support to developing countries, as set out in the Paris agreement.

The Paris agreement also makes clear that financial support from developed countries is necessary to promote progress in developing countries, Li added.

"It's a legal right of China to obtain financial support from developed countries. But China has never abused the right," he said, adding that the country has restrained itself from demanding it.

China has always encouraged the developed countries to fulfill their obligation to offer support.

"We hope the cake of the climate fund will grow larger so that the least-developed countries will get more support," he said, adding that with increasing national strength, China will continue to offer support to other developing countries.

"China is willing to shoulder its responsibilities in accordance with its capabilities and national conditions and based on the development stage the country is in," Li said.

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