The US-led blame game over climate
China is doing more than its share in the fight against global warming, contrary to Western propaganda
COP26 started with extreme hype and slogan of "it is last best hope" to tackle the climate change. People are looking toward the leaders; how can they turn this hope into reality. However, tune of the conference does not correspond to the expectation of people.
It is extremely shocking to note that some leaders who delivered speeches at the UN Climate Change Conference are not in mood to act according to their status or responsibility. It seems they are only interested in delivering lectures and shifting the actions to someone else.
The developed world is not ready to shoulder the historical responsibility, with some pushing poor and vulnerable countries to do more. They are offering peanuts in support to shift the burden and divert attention from their annual financing commitment of $100 billion, which they made many years ago.
Simultaneously, the Western world along with their partners and allies are looking for the scapegoat for their inaction and inability to act. They have pinned China as a scapegoat, and Western media have launched a malicious campaign against the country. However, the data analysis shows that China's per capita emissions have been far lower, now and historically, compared to those of the developed world.
United States President Joe Biden has forged partnership with some countries to criticize China. He tried to accuse China but refused to give any concrete timeline for the US to go for green development or reduction of greenhouse-gas, or GHG, emissions. Rather, he was saying it is irrational to go for renewable energy in the near future.
Regardless, facts tell us a different story. Despite its minimum role in climate change, China is striving hard to contribute in the fight against global warming.
First, the major transformation of Chinese economy happened after the nation joined the World Trade Organization in December 2001. Besides, it is a well-established fact that climate change was a major concern well before 2000.
Second, during the last 40 years China substantially enhanced its forest areas. The total forest area of China was 12 percent in 1978, but it now stands at 23.4 percent. It means China added 11.4 percent to total forest area, equivalent to 1.1 million square kilometers. It is huge, even bigger than the total areas of many countries.
Also, it has been pointed out that during the last two decades China's contribution to global greening is about 25 percent. It is pertinent to mention here that forest plays a leading role to sink carbon content from the atmosphere. So, China is at forefront to create huge sink of carbon.
Third, China has been busy establishing protected areas to conserve the biodiversity. President Xi Jinping has announced earlier that China has designated the Three-River-Source National Park, the Giant Panda National Park, the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park, the Hainan Tropical Forests National Park, and the Wuyishan National Park, as its first batch of protected areas.
Fourth, China is also tirelessly working to reduce GHG emissions from different sources. China is leading the world to reduce energy intensity. During 2011-20, the nation reduced energy intensity by 28.7 percent per capita of GDP. It is also evident from the growth rate of energy consumption (2.8 percent) against the growth rate of GDP (5.7 percent). The share of coal in energy mix decreased from 72.4 percent in 2005 to 56.8 percent in 2020 and contribution of non-fossil is exhibiting a rising trend in national energy mix. In 2020, it was 15.9 percent.
Besides, China, under the vision of eco-civilization, new philosophy of development and high-quality development, is transforming the whole economic, social and environment structure of the country. Eco-civilization is a core ingredient of all milestones, policies and visions. China has a special bond with the concept, as ancient Chinese philosophers such as Confucius and Lao Tzu were the first to talk about it.
In modern times, Xi is championing the cause. He is taking concrete steps like policy of dual circulation and vision of new philosophy of development. Under his leadership, China has launched the 14th Five-Year plan and has committed to reduce carbon emission intensity by 18 percent till 2025. China will also be enhancing the role of Eco-Industrial Parks, focusing on resource efficiency, minimizing waste and championing green development.
Three-dimensional Transport Network is another major initiative by China to move toward the building of ecological civilization. It has been designed to modernize and build modern supply chain according to the principles of eco-civilization. China will be looking ways for GHG-emission-free or less polluter options for transportation. Innovation and technological development will be leading instruments to achieve the goal.
Xi is putting a lot of emphasis on the digital economy to reduce the carbon footprint. He is encouraging companies to venture into modern digital economy and urging companies, especially youth entrepreneurs, to go for innovation. And China is also using policies, legislation, and tools to implement the environment friendly development plans.
In a nutshell, China contributed more than its share, as China does not have any historical burden or responsibility. China has further accelerated the efforts to combat the challenges and lead the way for green development. Xi is also asking world community to join hands to combat these challenges because he is convinced that the world is a community with shared future.
Despite all these efforts, China is still facing criticism. It is interesting to note that the countries which are criticizing China are those countries which are the major polluters and are not doing enough. Further, the analysis of events and facts highlight that environment and climate change are only used as smoke screen. The real motive of this campaign is to contain China.
As they know that they cannot compete with China, they are trying to create obstacles in the way of the country. Thus, no matter whatever China is doing to combat climate change, it will not satisfy the opponents. They will not satisfy until China surrenders in front of them, which is not possible.
China should not be bothered much by these campaigns and should keep working on its goal of eco-civilization and help other countries, especially the poor and less developed nations. The good thing is that China is already helping other countries through South-South cooperation.
China has also expanded its green cooperation under Belt and Road Initiative to contribute to achieve the sustainable development goals of "development and environment". A special forum was launched under the name of Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition to facilitate the green transition through BRI. So, it can be hoped that China will continue to play its role for a beautiful world and a community with a shared future for mankind.
Meanwhile, China also needs help from friends to further accelerate its efforts for green development and a green planet. It is a huge task that China alone cannot complete. It needs support from friends to refute propaganda, so that it can concentrate on real work.
The author is CEO of the Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development in Pakistan. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.