Xi to speak at summit on climate issues

File photo shows a wind power plant in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province, northern China. [Photo/Xinhua]

The event is expected to serve as a cooperation platform for nations to address challenges

President Xi Jinping’s attendance at the upcoming climate summit could make the widely attended meeting more constructive and fruitful as the world prepares for more ambitious climate goals.

At the invitation of U.S. President Joe Biden, Xi will take part in the climate leaders’ summit and deliver a keynote speech at the summit via video link from Beijing on Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Wednesday.

The two-day meeting, which could see the attendance of around 40 world leaders, has drawn global attention as it is the first summit hosted by the United States on climate issues since the departure of the former US President Donald Trump, who has been noted for his disregard for the global climate crisis.

It also comes as the world desperately needs a concerted effort to implement the Paris Agreement and move the issue forward.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said that China hopes the summit can be a “platform of exchange and cooperation for global cooperation to meet challenges”. climate challenges, to facilitate the effective and full implementation of the Paris Agreement and to promote concerted efforts”. in global climate and environmental governance”.

Last week, China engaged in a series of high-level climate talks. On Friday, senior leaders from China, France and Germany agreed at a virtual summit to jointly work towards a fair and reasonable climate governance mechanism.

At the meeting, Xi reiterated China’s commitments to peak its carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. He also said China has decided to adopt the Kigali Amendment. to the Montreal Protocol and intensifies the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions other than CO2. .

China and the United States issued a joint statement on climate change management on Sunday after Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change affairs, and the U.S. president’s special climate envoy John Kerry met in Shanghai.

Students draw a picture to protect ozone at a primary school in Qinhuangdao, Hebei province, September 13, 2018. [Photo/VCG]

In his written address at a carbon neutrality forum on Tuesday in Beijing, Xie said, “The joint statement issued after the China-US climate dialogue fully demonstrates that we can only work together towards a sustainable future through a pragmatic cooperation and with joint efforts to seek answers and paths.”

China-US cooperation is vital

The joint statement indicates that the two countries will strengthen their respective climate action while working together to achieve the goals included in the historic Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, aims to keep the increase in global temperature this century below 2 C compared to pre-industrial levels and to continue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1, 5 C.

Richie Merzian, a former Australian government negotiator to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said he expected to see a positive outcome from possible talks between China and the United States at the summit. .

“It was only because China and the United States came together in 2015 that we reached a Paris agreement,” said Merzian, who is also director of the climate and energy program at Australia. Institute, in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency. “That’s how important these two countries are to global efforts.”

China and the United States have been widely praised for laying the groundwork for international support for the Paris Agreement. After Xi’s visit to the United States in June 2013, US President Barack Obama visited China in November 2014.

On November 12, 2014, the two presidents released the joint US-China announcement on climate change, in which they stated that they “decided to work closely together over the next year to overcome major obstacles to the conclusion of a global climate agreement in Paris”.

Merzian said it is in the interests of both China and the United States to fight climate change, as they have both suffered consequences such as increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

The researcher also noted that countries could benefit from the new economy to be created in climate change mitigation efforts. “These are the green technologies that China has been so successful in, manufacturing and shipping around the world and also implementing domestically,” he said.

“So really everyone benefits when China and the United States can work together,” he said.

Lin Jiaqiao, co-founder and co-director of the Beijing-based Rock Environment and Energy Institute, said he sees electric vehicles and renewable energy as two sectors with potential for cooperation between China and the United States.

Both countries have listed these two sectors as strategies to decarbonize their economies, as well as to increase employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth. However, they have yet to work out a substantial cooperative framework for the sectors based on the consensus outlined in their joint climate statement, Lin said.

Teresa H. Sadler