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Xi: Nation to honor climate pledges

Leaders agree to enhance exchanges, cooperation on green development

By XU WEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-04-17 06:37
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President Xi Jinping attends a video summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Beijing, April 16, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese, French and German leaders agreed during a virtual summit on Friday to jointly work toward an equitable and reasonable climate governance mechanism for win-win cooperation and make the response to climate change a pillar for cooperation between China and the European Union.

During the meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Xi Jinping said China will honor its commitments to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and attain carbon neutrality before 2060, while describing the mission as a "hard battle" for the world's largest developing country.

The three leaders reached consensuses on the need to uphold multilateralism and implement the Paris Agreement across the board, highlighting the need to enable the Leaders Summit on Climate later this month to yield positive, balanced and pragmatic outcomes, and to enhance climate policy dialogue and cooperation in the area of green development.

President Xi Jinping and French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel take part in a virtual summit on climate issues on Friday. They agreed to work on an equitable and reasonable climate governance mechanism and make it a pillar of Sino-EU cooperation. YUE YUEWEI/XINHUA

They urged coordinated steps to ensure the success of multilateral agendas, such as the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, and to work toward a new pattern for global environmental governance.

They also pledged support for COVAX, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, and for enabling the energy supply of developing nations to grow in an efficient, clean and diversified direction.

In his remarks, Xi said China's commitments mean the nation must attain the largest drop in carbon emission intensity globally, and use the shortest period in global history to peak carbon emissions and attain carbon neutrality.

The nation has already included the commitments into its overall plan for ecological development and is pushing for the growth of a green, low-carbon and circular economy across the board, he said.

China has decided to adopt the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and is stepping up curbs on emissions of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, such as hydrofluorocarbon, he said.

The response to climate change is the common cause of humanity, and the issue should not become a geopolitical bargaining chip, a means of attacking other nations or an excuse for imposing trade barriers, Xi said.

He reiterated the importance of implementing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on the basis of equity and in accordance with all parties' common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities and actively conducting South-South Cooperation in climate change mitigation.

The Chinese president expressed his hope that developed economies can lead in actions to cut emissions, set examples in fulfilling promises to set up climate change funding and offer developing nations adequate support in technology and capacity building to cope with climate change.

Regarding China-EU relations, Xi highlighted the need to maintain the main thrust of the ties from a strategic perspective as the relationship now faces new development opportunities and various challenges.

China will expand high-level opening up and create a fair, just and nondiscriminatory business environment for foreign investors, including those from France and Germany, he said, adding that he hopes the EU can treat Chinese businesses with the same positive attitude and work with China to bolster cooperation in strengthening a green, digital partnership and fighting COVID-19.

China opposes vaccine nationalism and a man-made vaccine divide, and the nation stands ready to work with the international community to support and help developing countries to gain access to vaccines in a timely manner, he said.

The Chinese side is willing to work with the International Olympic Committee to offer vaccines to Olympic athletes, he added.

Macron said France welcomes China's commitment to carbon neutrality before 2060, a move he said showed Beijing has taken the initiative in assuming major responsibilities.

Paris is ready to work with Beijing in bringing bilateral and EU-China relations forward, jointly helping Africa attain green development and enhancing coordination over regional matters such the Iran nuclear issue, he said.

Merkel hailed China's climate action goals as ambitious and challenging, saying that these will be crucial to global climate action.

It is also very important for China, France and Germany to scale up cooperation in responding to climate change, she said.

Germany is willing to work with China to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and economics and boost communication in the digital economy and internet security, she said, adding that she hoped the two sides can make joint efforts to bring the China-EU comprehensive agreement on investment into effect as early as possible.

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