UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for joint efforts to break the deadly cycle of global warming on Monday local time, just days before global leaders gather in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for the COP28 climate conference which will run from November 30 to December 12.
“The COP28, which will open at the end of this month, will see the first-ever global stocktake since the Paris Agreement came into effect. It will be of milestone significance,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at Tuesday’s routine press briefing.
China highly commends the UAE’s leading role as the host of COP28 in advancing green and low-carbon development and galvanise global joint response to climate change, Wang said.
President Xi Jinping’s Special Representative, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Vice Premier of the State Council Ding Xuexiang will be in the UAE for the COP28 conference upon invitation, according to Wang.
China will work with all parties to support the UAE’s presidency and use the global stock take as an opportunity to step up implementation, strengthen supporting measures and jointly build a fair, reasonable and win-win global climate governance system, said the spokesperson.
Facing the challenge to balance development and decarbonisation, China has always shown a positive response and firm support for the global cause of tackling climate change, including fulfilling its own carbon-cut promises and participating in international cooperation, analysts said.
They called on the international community, developed countries in particular, to take up their duties and act in favour of cooperation rather than politicising the climate issue and disturbing the green-energy supply chain.
ANSWERING THE CALL
Guterres, when briefing reporters on Monday at the UN headquarters in New York, emphasised the urgent need to interrupt the perilous progression of global warming before a “critical tipping point” is encountered, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The UN chief cited the “profoundly shocking” speed at which ice is melting in Antarctica – three times faster than the rate in the early 1990s.
At the COP28, global leaders must break the vicious cycle – accelerated heating as ice diminishes and more extreme weather, the UN chief stressed.
The global inventory, a key agenda of the conference, could be a departing point for the international community to focus on action and cooperation and create more favourable conditions for the global response to climate change, analysts said.
Xia Yingxian, director of the Department of Climate Change under China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment, said the inventory should include a comprehensive summary of the experiences and positive effects of global cooperation in addressing climate change, including the development of new energy, Shanghai-based news portal website The Paper reported on Monday.
It should also evaluate the progress, shortcomings, and gaps in implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 2020 and summarise the lessons learned from the gaps in support provided by developed countries in terms of funding, technology, and capacity building, Xia said.
Despite the ongoing rivalry between the US and China, the two countries are cooperating on the climate front. According to Xia, China and the US will hold a “methane and non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas summit” with the UAE chair at the COP28.
Ma Jun, director of the Beijing-based Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, told the Global Times on Tuesday that China has been implementing its carbon goals in a steadfast and planned manner, with the hope of reaching carbon peak ahead of 2030.
China is set to double its capacity and produce 1,200 gigawatts of energy through wind and solar power by 2025, reaching its 2030 goal five years ahead of time, according to a report by Global Energy Monitor, a San Francisco-based NGO.
According to official data, non-fossil energy accounted for 17.5 percent of energy consumption in China. By the end of June 2023, the number of new-energy vehicles (NEVs) in the country reached 16.2 million, accounting for more than half of the world’s NEVs.
China’s actions to address climate change have not only promoted the country’s green and low-carbon development, but also made important contributions to addressing global climate change, analysts said.
China is the major provider of solar capacity to other countries, producing 75 percent of the world’s photovoltaic capacity. Its export of photovoltaic products crossed $51 billion in 2022, up 80 percent year-on-year.
The country has also been working to boost the green development of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with global partners.
“The Al Dhafra PV2 Solar Power Plant is the world’s largest single PV project and an important project of Belt and Road cooperation in the area of green energy,” and “China is a doer in advancing global climate governance. We have not only built the world’s largest clean power generation network, but also provided support and assistance in this regard to other developing countries to the best of our capability,” Wang Wenbin said at the press conference on Tuesday.
Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that as China has made significant progress on green transition, a more vigorous clean-energy goal could be proposed at the COP28.
However, analysts stressed that the goal will have to be raised according to China’s reality and capability, and reconcile the needs to develop and to cut carbon emission.
“China fulfilling responsibility of a major country should not be a handle for others to coerce us,” Lin said.
Xia Yingxian, the above-quoted official, also said the COP28 should promote effective coordination between the needs of addressing climate change and poverty eradication, energy security, job creation and economic development, and pragmatically promote a just global transition to a green, low-carbon and climate-resilient society.
China has a complete new-energy industry chain and can provide affordable products for global markets, and some Western countries should not weaponise climate issue to contain China’s fair play in the green energy industry, Lin said, citing discriminatory laws and technological blockage.
This will greatly push up the cost of global emission reduction and hollow out the foundation of an effective global response to climate change, analysts said.
Lin also refuted West’s criticism on China’s development of coal energy. As China is the world’s second-largest economy, its option at present is not “clean or fossil” energy, but “greener energy or shortage,” he elaborated.
China, through optimized use of fossil fuels and vigorous development of clean energy, believes in action rather than empty talk, Lin said.