US-led Western countries should stop talking about empty promises on climate change
Published: Dec 05, 2023 05:34 PM
Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

Illustration: Xia Qing/Global Times

Mankind is facing an explosive crisis involving climate change. This summer in the Northern Hemisphere has been the hottest on record, and we have witnessed all kinds of abnormal weather conditions in many parts of the world. Therefore, all countries need to be fully mobilized to reduce emissions and strive for carbon neutrality as soon as possible. 

In this regard, China is doing the right thing. First, China is currently the largest producer of solar energy, and it's the leading country in terms of sustainable development in employing new and renewable energy. Second, by working very hard to push forward electric vehicle production, China is making a great contribution to mitigating climate change and reducing emissions. Third, China is supporting other countries, especially developing ones, by sharing technologies related to new and renewable energy, as well as disseminating the know-how about solar power and wind power. All these are welcomed in many countries.

In order to make sure there is less pollution and emission, China has set the goal of achieving "peak carbon" emission by 2030 and becoming "carbon neutral" by 2060. These objectives are the most important and challenging tasks for Chinese companies and the entire nation.

On the other hand, China has been working closely with the US to come up with a common understanding of the urgent task of mitigating the impact of climate change. If China and the US can work together toward the common goal of environmental protection, the world will become better, and we will have a better chance to save mankind from the disastrous impact of climate change.

We know for sure that developed countries have been contributing a lot to the overall emission, because most developing countries started their industrialization late, and their manufacturing is really minimal and negligible.

The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be upheld. Historically, developed countries have polluted much more than developing countries, so they should take more responsibility in mitigating the climate change impact in the first place. Then they should also share resources, wealth, and technologies with the developing countries. 

However, it is a shame that many developed Western countries are walking back on their promises of contributing large sums of money to developing countries for sharing technologies, know-how and joint action plans to mitigate the impact of climate change. 

I hope Western countries will do the right thing rather than just talking about empty promises and instead work closely with developing countries. Eventually, we only have one common climate environment, and no country should expect to hide behind national walls or boundaries to protect themselves.

If, for example, the global environmental framework collapses, it will be a disaster for everyone. I hope China and the US can continue discussing and coordinating their actions on climate change. And it really takes the two to tango rather than each side going its own way. Today, no major international issues can be properly solved if China and the US are not on the same page. China-US cooperation is crucial, not only for climate change, but also for many other important issues, such as pandemic prevention and mitigation.

Better cooperation between China and the US will set a good example for other countries. People expect China and the US, the two largest economies in the world, to do the right thing, and not engage in conflict, but rather to take joint actions for the benefit of not only the Chinese people and the American people, but also mankind as a whole.

The author is a chair professor at Soochow University and Vice President of the Center for China and Globalization. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn