China makes outstanding contributions to global climate governance

Electric bikes are exhibited at a trade fair for new energy and electric vehicle and spare parts held in east China's Jiangsu province, Oct. 27, 2021. (Photo by Su Yang/People's Daily Online)

China on Oct. 27 issued a white paper titled “Responding to Climate Change: China’s Policies and Actions,” in the lead-up to the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to be held in Glasgow.

The white paper was released by the State Council Information Office.

This marked the second time for China to have released a white paper on climate change, said Ye Min, Vice Minister of Ecology and Environment. The white paper fully demonstrates China’s progress and achievements in coping with climate change, as well as the country’s remarkable contributions to the global climate governance, offering a systematic description of China’s proposal, wisdom and solution in dealing with climate change, Ye explained.

As an active promoter and staunch follower of climate action, China in recent years has implemented a national strategy for actively responding to climate change, adopting a series of policies and measures such as upgrading industrial structure and energy mix, reinforcing efforts in energy conservation and greater energy efficiency, establishing market mechanisms, and enhancing forest carbon-sink, Ye introduced, adding that positive progress has been achieved.

Greenhouse gas emissions have been effectively controlled. China’s carbon intensity in 2020 was 18.8 percent lower than that in 2015. The figure was also 48.4 percent less than that in 2005, which means that China had more than fulfilled its commitment to the international community – to achieve a 40-45 percent reduction in carbon intensity from the 2005 level by 2020. It demonstrates that China has largely reversed the rapid growth of its carbon dioxide emissions.

Energy structure has been optimized. Preliminary calculations show that in 2020, non-fossil energy contributed 15.9 percent to China’s total energy consumption, a significant increase of 8.5 percentage points compared with 2005, Ye introduced, adding that the country’s reliance on coal consumption has significantly reduced.

The national carbon emissions trading market has been constantly improved. According to the white paper, the national carbon market started online trading on July 16, 2021. A total of 2,162 power generation companies were involved, representing 4.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions, making this the world’s largest emissions trading system.

Besides, China has continuously advanced low-carbon piloting and reinforced its ability to adapt to climate change. The Chinese society’s awareness of low-carbon development has also been raised. While doing a good job in coping with climate change at home, China has also actively participated in and charted the course for global climate governance. It has played a historic role in promoting the conclusion, coming into effect and the making of implementation rules of the Paris Agreement.

The white paper says that as the largest developing country, with a population of over 1.4 billion, China faces major challenges across a range of important areas including economic development, improving the people’s lives, pollution control, and eco-environmental protection. In order to meet its targets in response to climate change, China has risen to these challenges and formulated and implemented a variety of strategies, regulations, policies, standards, and actions.

As a responsible country, China is committed to building a global climate governance system that is fair, rational, cooperative and beneficial to all, and makes its due contribution to tackling climate change using its greatest strengths and most effective solutions, the white paper says.

The COP26 is the first meeting of the parties since the implementation of the Paris Agreement. It will complete the negotiations on the remaining issues of the implementation rules of the Paris Agreement.

“We hope that parties relevant can meet each other halfway. Developed countries shall be constructive and flexible, obey the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities,” and adhere to the nationally determined contributions, so as to avoid backtracking and even renegotiation on the issues that have been agreed on,” said Sun Zhen, an official with the Ministry of Ecology and Environment.

China believes the COP26 should make a strong political voice of safeguarding multilateralism and respecting multilateral rules, and all parties relevant shall implement the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the nationally determined contributions, so as to contribute to the global response to climate change, said Ye.

Sun said China is willing to work with the UK that holds the presidency of the COP26, to make negotiations open, transparent, inclusive, party-driven and consensus-based. It will also maintain close communication and coordination to push for the completion of the negotiations on the remaining issues of the implementation rules of the Paris Agreement, he added.

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