Sunday, November 29, 2015

China to play leading, constructive role in upcoming COP21

China has played and will continue to play a critical role in negotiations relating to the international political response to climate change, World Wide Fund for Nature's (WWF) Global Climate and Energy Initiative leader Samantha Smith said.

Speaking in an interview with Xinhua ahead of the 21st United Nations climate change conference (COP21) in Paris, Smith lauded pledges taken by the China to curb greenhouse gas emissions while applauding its ongoing commitment to the "common but differentiated responsibilities."

Integral to China's Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), which was submitted in June this year, is the country's ambition to reduce CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

In its INDC, China also announced plans to achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent while increasing the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters compared to 2005 levels.

China's 3.1 billion US dollars support to a South-South cooperation fund, which will help developing countries combat climate change, is also considered a step in the right direction by Smith.

"China put quite big committee on the table," Smith added. "From all the things we can see, China is determined to play leading and constructive role as the biggest developing country."

These actions come as countries from across the globe unite under the auspices of COP21, whose aim is to reach a legally binding, universal agreement on climate to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

As NGO delegate to join in the negotiation, Smith noted "almost all countries want some kind of agreement but what they want in the agreement has yet to be determined."

Undertakings by industrialized nations to provide funds amounting to 100 billion US dollars per year by 2020 to support tangible mitigation actions by developing countries have fallen short as gaps between what is being pledged and what is being delivered come to light.

The issue of post-2020 financing is also topical according to Smith, as developing nations strive to industrialize without fossil fuels, a task which requires access to reliable and long-term financial sources.

Amid preliminary reports that 2015 was the hottest year on record, and even since the Kyoto Protocol came into force ten years ago, Smith noted that "the debate about what is happening has gone."

In light of this, she welcomed the fact that since 2005 there has been a revolution in the energy sector together with a progressive shift from a reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

The WWF expert hailed that China has played an important role in bringing down costs in energy transformation technologies, and that renewable energy has become a top priority for policy makers in Beijing.

Chinese cities have also been active in addressing the impacts of pollution and climate according to Smith, who concluded that "doing something about climate change is also about getting people to care about the issues of pollution and climate."

COP21 will be held in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.

 Xinhua -

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