COP24 critical for combating climate change: official

By Shan Jie in Katowice Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/9 22:08:39

Thousands of environmentalists march in center Katowice to the venue of COP24, calling on immediate action on climate change on Saturday. Photos: Shan Jie/GT

In response to the US abdication of its global environmental responsibility, China will step up to the plate based on its capability, development and national conditions, China's senior climate change official said on Saturday at Conference of the Parties (COP24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Katowice, Poland.

US President Donald Trump last year announced that the US would withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

In 2014, former US president Barack Obama pledged the US would contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund to help the poorest countries in the world on combating climate change.

In response to some voices calling on China to make up the funding shortfall after the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, Li Gao, director-general of the department of climate change at the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, noted that the responsibility should rest more with other developed countries.

Historically speaking, climate change was caused by the unlimited emissions of developed countries since the Industrial Revolution, he said,

"Therefore those countries should take on more responsibilities," Li said.

He reaffirmed that China would implement the Paris Agreement based on the principle of common but different responsibilities and respective capabilities.

China's carbon dioxide emissions per person are much lower than that of the US, Li noted.

China has also been helping developing countries tackle climate change by supplying low-carbon devices and supporting projects that reduce emissions, he said.

For many developing countries, the most significant issue was to ensure basic needs including electricity, Li said.

"COP24 in Katowice is a remarkable point in the multilateral climate change process," Li said.

Patricia Espinosa, UN climate change executive secretary, said at a press conference on Saturday in Katowice, "We're very thankful for the leadership [of China] for clarity and vision in putting sustainability and addressing the climate changing at the center of the agenda."

Against a background of rising unilateralism, the Katowice conference process is more significant, Li noted.

"If it fails in Katowice, doubts will emerge about the multilateral climate change process as well as globalization and global governance," he said.

China has been working hard on promoting the process in negotiations, Li said.

The implementation of the Paris Agreement is complicated due to detailed problems and political issues, he said, but many parties are still working positively and constructively.

"We have confidence in reaching the goal in Katowice," Li said.

As of 2017, China had cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 46 percent from the 2005 level, fulfilling its commitment to reduce CO2 emissions by 40 to 45 percent from the 2005 level by 2020.

The two-week COP24 in Poland aims to finalize the implementation guidelines and provide clarity on how to carry out the Paris Agreement fairly all participating countries.


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