Exclusive: UK, China share ‘unique opportunity’ to work together to protect planet, says UK envoy to China
Published: Oct 13, 2021 08:51 PM
Caroline Wilson, UK ambassador to China. Photo: VCG

Caroline Wilson, UK ambassador to China. Photo: VCG

With the UK hosting COP26 and China hosting COP15 this year, the UK and China have a unique opportunity to work together to protect our planet, our economies and our livelihood, and we will play an active role in negotiations and use COP26 to deliver solutions that also support biodiversity, Caroline Wilson, the British Ambassador to China, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. 

At the ongoing COP15, China vowed to strengthen biodiversity protection and issue implementation plans for peaking carbon dioxide emissions while investing 1.5 billion yuan ($233 million) to support biodiversity protection in developing countries. 

"This conference comes at a really crucial time for humankind. Climate change and biodiversity loss are twin crises," Wilson said, noting that biodiversity is negatively affected by climate change, and biodiversity-rich habitats act as both carbon sinks and barriers against extreme weather. 

"We can't tackle one without the other," she said. 

Over the past decade, China has established thousands of nature reserves and parks. Wilson said she experienced it first-hand on her birdwatching trip to Yeyahu Nature Reserve in Beijing - the second most biodiverse city among the G20 capitals where over 500 bird species live.

She said China has made great strides and has a huge potential to provide global solutions to biodiversity loss. 

After the COP15, the world's attention will be on the upcoming climate conference, COP 26, in Glasgow. In a public statement on Tuesday, COP26 chief Alok Sharma urged world leaders to step up efforts to deliver on their promise at the Paris Agreement. 

As the UK and China hold long-standing collaborations on biodiversity protection and tackling climate change, the UK wants to work with China to build on this legacy, Wilson said. 

"We look forward to working with China even more closely on the impact of forest-related commodities," she said, noting that the UK hopes to continue constructive collaboration between producer and consumer countries to tackle deforestation and biodiversity loss.

Wilson said China and the UK have a lot of expertise to share on biodiversity protection, technological innovation and green finance. "We are open to working closely with China, particularly as you develop the tools and frameworks needed to meet the 2030 and 2060 targets," she said.  

As hosts of COP26, the UK launched the Energy Transition Council to bring together the political, financial and technical leaders of the global power sector to accelerate the transition from coal to clean power, Wilson noted. 

China is very welcome to join this council, to share its expertise, and support the delivery of fast-acting technical assistance to developing countries in the council, she said.  

At COP26, we must finalize the outstanding technical elements of the Paris Agreement, such as finding solutions on carbon markets and transparent reporting, the ambassador said, noting that the collaboration between governments, business and civil society should be accelerated to deliver on our climate goals faster.