Climate action pledge must be truly honored: Global Times editorial
Published: Apr 23, 2021 12:47 AM
The Leaders' Summit on Climate is convened on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua

The Leaders' Summit on Climate is convened on Thursday. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday delivered an important speech at the Leaders' Summit on Climate. He put forward the idea of fostering a community of life for man and nature. Xi said China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030, achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, and make great efforts to achieve its goals. The commitments China has made are outstanding among developing countries, which is of key significance to the implementation of the Paris Agreement.  

US President Joe Biden pledged to slash US greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, a new target higher than the emissions reductions promised by the Obama administration. This is certainly a welcome decision.

Taking a U-turn from the Trump administration's attitude, which withdrew from the Paris agreement, the Biden government has claimed in a high profile to promote global carbon dioxide emissions reductions. It's a good thing. However, the US President called on world leaders to significantly accelerate their own plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We believe it is the developed countries that should respond to the call. They have the conditions and also the obligation as the parties that have contributed to the most CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. Developing countries are still facing the basic task of raising people's living standards through further industrialization, which needs to balance with the climate action goal.

Therefore, developed countries must understand that countries should have common but differentiated responsibilities in emissions reductions. The important thing is that all countries do their best, keep moving forward without retreating their efforts, and never pull back the commitments they have made. China has included its timetable for peaking carbon dioxide emissions and achieving carton neutrality into its national plan. It has become a practical action plan.

The US goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, announced by Biden, is eye-catching. The challenge the US confronts now is how to turn this target into a consensus between the Democratic and Republican parties, making it able to withstand the test of future government changes.

The international community must have not gotten over the shadow of the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. The Biden administration needs to work with Congress to come up with measures and arrangements to ensure that the US emissions reduction target will be consistently implemented and will never be abandoned again. Only then can Washington genuinely encourage other countries and generate a driving force.

Developed countries have an advantage in emissions reduction technologies. After emissions reduction is accelerated, the expansion of the new industry will generate huge interests. However, the ultimate goal of emissions reduction is for mankind's common wellbeing. The US not only needs to set an example in speeding up emissions reduction, but also should take the lead in transferring technologies to aid developing countries. It shouldn't take the subsequent climate actions as a process to seek profits in a different way: reaping profits from the developing countries while cutting emissions.

China is the world's largest developing country. Its industrialization has reached a certain level, which, however, still lags behind developed countries. China is proactive in reducing greenhouse gas emissions with a high consensus from society. Meanwhile, the country also shoulders the heavy task of improving people's living standards. Many of China's problems and efforts are typical. The US and the West should listen to China's initiatives carefully, which is of great significance for the world to jointly deal with climate change in a harmonious manner.

Xi made six-point proposal for building community of life for man and nature: We must be committed to harmony between man and nature, green development, systemic governance, a people-centered approach, multilateralism and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. This is how China is developing in line with the purposes and goals of the Paris Agreement. We hope various countries, especially developed countries, can also do the same. Different countries have different situations, but we all live on Earth. It will be our wise choice to build a community with a shared future for mankind as well as a community of life for man and nature.