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China follows through on climate change

By HOU LIQIANG | | Updated: 2022-08-10 16:58
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File Photo: Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative on climate change affairs. [Photo/IC]

"Despite its suspension of climate talks with the United States, China has always been a proactive contributor to the global climate process with persistent endeavors to support other developing countries," said Xie Zhenhua, China special envoy for climate change.

"The US is fully responsible for the current situation of China-US climate cooperation", Xie stressed in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

The special envoy made the remarks following comments of his US counterpart John Kerry that China's decision to suspend the climate talks, which is one of eight countermeasures, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday in response to the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan is "disappointing".

"Suspending cooperation doesn't punish the United States — it punishes the world, particularly the developing world," he said.

Kerry was secretary of state under the Barack Obama administration when Sino-US cooperation on climate issues underwent a honeymoon period.

When Obama was US president, the two countries played key roles in helping the world reach the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

Xie noted outstanding climate cooperation between the two nations since last year before Pelosi's visit.

"Previously, exchanges between climate envoys of the two nations were smooth with remarkable results," he said.

Last year, the two economies issued two joint statements on coping with the global crisis of climate change, he said. The documents were to enter implementation phase when the visit that infringed on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity happened, forcing China to suspend the climate talks.

China hasn't punished the world and the developing countries. Instead, the US has, Xie stressed.

In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol, the first major global agreement on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, was signed. In 2001, the United States repudiated the protocol, he said.

In 2020, the world's largest economy also withdrew the Paris Agreement. Despite the US rejoining the 2015 treaty last year, it has greatly undermined the motivation to tackle climate change around the world, he said.

Xie also pointed out that the US is historically responsible for more emissions than any other country. The US, together with other developed countries, has yet to honor their pledges of mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries.

In 2021, the US imposed sanctions on some Chinese photovoltaic enterprises over the so-called Xinjiang issue, he said. The act has not only undermined the cooperative atmosphere between China and US, but also has hindered renewable energy development around the world.

Xie urged the US to take solid actions in tackling climate change other than merely paying lip service.

In a stark contrast, China has always been a major contributor to global climate process and made active efforts toward implementing international treaties on climate change, he emphasized.

Under these treaties, he said, China has close communication and coordination with the US, the European Union, the other BASIC countries and Group of 77 to promote the multilateral climate process.

BASIC is a bloc of four large newly industrialized countries — Brazil, South Africa, India and China.

China has offered support to climate endeavors of other developing countries under the South-South Cooperation mechanism to the best of its capability, he added.

While making all-out efforts to carry out climate cooperation with other countries, China has also been resolutely forging ahead with its climate targets of peaking carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and realizing carbon neutrality before 2060, he said.

China has essentially completed a policy system for the goals, he noted. Aside from an overarching guideline for the goals and an action plan for peaking the emissions from the central authorities, the country has worked out implementation plans for the energy, industry, building and transportation sectors, among others, and rolled out measures supporting technology, taxes, finance and carbon sinks.

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