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Tianjin, Fujian, Oregon talk climate, sustainability

By YIFAN XU in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-12-14 11:27
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Officials from Tianjin municipality and Fujian province in China joined their counterparts from the US state of Oregon recently to discuss subnational cooperation on climate change and sustainability.

Scholars from Yale University, Nankai University and Xiamen University shared their views on ecological civilization and exchanged knowledge on environmental governance in China and the US.

The second Climate Change & Sustainability in Oregon & China Forum, which the Oregon-China Council, Tianjin municipality and Fujian province jointly organized, held its opening ceremony and first session on Dec 9 by video.

According to the Oregon Business website, China has been Oregon's largest international trading partner, accounting for 20 percent of Oregon's export profits in 2021, despite tensions in US-China relations.

Fujian and Oregon established a sister-state relationship in 1984, while Tianjin and Oregon have been sister states since 2014.

Tianjin, Fujian and Oregon co-founded and co-hosted the first such forum in December 2021.

Zhang Jianmin, Chinese consul general in San Francisco, said that China has been actively implementing a national strategy to respond to climate change and steadfastly pursuing a green and low-carbon development path with an ecological priority, contributing to global sustainable development.

He noted that cooperation and consensus between China and the US, as the world's largest developing country and the largest developed country, respectively, are essential to addressing global threats and challenges.

"Both sides should establish a tone of engagement of dialogue rather than confrontation, and win-win rather than zero-sum," Zhang said.

He said that the US and China share the same goal and commitment to the concept that "lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets".

"The partnership between China and Oregon is giving new impetus to the US-China friendship," Zhang said.

Luan Jianzhang, director-general of the Tianjin Foreign Affairs Office, described the forum as "the brand project" deepening friendship and cooperation among Tianjin, Fujian and Oregon and "a model program" for local collaboration on climate change.

"I suggest inviting more participants to this forum next year. More provinces and states could be involved," said Luan.

Lin Xuefeng from the Fujian Provincial Foreign Affairs Office said that China and the US, as the largest polluters, need to move in the same direction to address climate change.

"The effect of Fujian's green economic system is increasingly prominent," he said. "In 2021, with 1.3 percent of China's land, 2.8 percent of the national population, and 2.8 percent of the energy consumption, Fujian province generated 4.3 percent of the country's GDP."

Lin made four suggestions for US-China cooperation on climate change and sustainability: cooperation in developing green energy, building climate-resilient cities, exchanging on nature reserves through national parks, and promoting dialogue between Eastern and Western views of ecological civilizations.

The three officials all said that the summit between President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden in Bali last month made a significant contribution to climate cooperation and the consensus reached at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Following the opening ceremony, Mary Evelyn Tucker, a senior research scholar at Yale University, gave a keynote speech titled Confucianism, the value of the unity of nature and human, and ecological cosmology.

"Confucianism manifests a religious ecology in its cosmological orientation. This cosmological orientation is realized in the connection of the microcosm of the self to the macrocosm of the universe through grounding oneself in natural and human communities, nurturing oneself in ritual relatedness and transforming oneself through cultivation," said Tucker.

"This is new to the West, and this is where China can shine in bringing this sensibility forward," she said.

Tucker also said that she was "thrilled" and "encouraged" by the Bali meeting because the US, China and other countries "really have to come together" on the climate.

"I think the hope is that we can really bring forth a sense that there's no future without a shared future," she said.

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