China seen as es­sen­tial ally in global warm­ing bat­tle

China Daily (Canada) - - ANALYSIS - By MARTIN BANKS

For China Daily

Most coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, have put for­ward pro­pos­als to do their bit in tack­ling cli­mate change.

China has emerged as a driv­ing force for a pos­si­ble deal in Paris. It will ar­rive at the talks as the world’s big­gest mar­ket for re­new­able en­ergy, with 433 gi­gawatts of gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity at the end of last year, more than dou­ble sec­ond-placed United States.

It is also on course to meet its goal to re­duce car­bon emis­sions per unit of eco­nomic out­put by 17 per­cent by the end of the year from 2010 lev­els, and to de­rive 11.4 per­cent of its en­ergy from non­fos­sil fu­els.

China has, also, promised to cut car­bon in­ten­sity by 60 to 65 per­cent from 2005 lev­els by 2030, when it also expects a peak in its car­bon emis­sions.

Jo Leinen, a Ger­man So­cial­ist mem­ber of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, who heads the par­lia­ment’s del­e­ga­tion in China, said the sum­mit, which he plans to at­tend, of­fers a great op­por­tu­nity to de­car­bonise the world.

China has an im­por­tant role in the sum­mit, he said. The coun­try’s de­ci­sion to reach a peak in its emis­sions no later than 2030, and its readi­ness to take part in a five-year re­view process of the vol­un­tary na­tional emis­sions re­duc­tion tar­gets, are a clear mes­sage to the world, Leinen said.

“In­vest­ments in car­bon­friendly tech­nolo­gies can help to ac­cel­er­ate the de­car­bon­i­sa­tion of our economies.”

He urges Beijing par­tic­i­pants in Paris to be “am­bi­tious and de­ci­sive” at the sum­mit.

“If in Paris the big­gest emit­ters — the United States and China — turn up with am­bi­tious goals and ob­jec­tives, I ex­pect Europe to step up its ef­forts.”

The US and China had un­til re­cently “been block­ing the way”, he said, but now it seems they take cli­mate change more se­ri­ously.

Leinen,

who

for­merly chaired the as­sem­bly’s com­mit­tee on en­vi­ron­ment, said: “We in Europe would like to see China hit the high point of its CO2 emis­sions ear­lier than 15 years from now, as we are aware that the an­nounced peak year of 2030 rep­re­sents a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate.”

But a num­ber of is­sues are still to be re­solved, such as the fi­nanc­ing of global cli­mate pro­tec­tion and com­mit­ments by in­di­vid­ual states.

Leinen said find­ing the fund­ing is one of the main chal­lenges.

A lot more trust is needed if plans for fi­nanc­ing global cli­mate pro­tec­tion af­ter 2020 are to be es­tab­lished, and he sees fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments as cru­cial in the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries’ readi­ness to ac­cept a com­pro­mise.

“China will be a de­ci­sive part­ner in find­ing a so­lu­tion that re­spects the com­mon but dif­fer­en­ti­ated re­spon­si­bil­ity for cli­mate pro­tec­tion, and that in­cludes in the end all coun­tries with their in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions to the com­mon good, which is the at­mos­phere sur­round­ing the Earth.”

Pri­or­i­ties in­clude lim­it­ing the rise in global warm­ing to 2 C, speed­ing up the avail­abil­ity of funds to fi­nance cli­mate mit­i­ga­tion, com­mit­ting to stop de­for­esta­tion and degra­da­tion, and es­tab­lish­ing tech­no­log­i­cal mech­a­nisms.

“I ap­pre­ci­ate the de­ci­sion of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment to in­tro­duce an emis­sions trad­ing sys­tem by 2017,” Leinen said.

“Car­bon has to get a price tag, and trad­ing car­bon cer­tifi­cates could help to give en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly in­vest­ments a clear di­rec­tion.”

China will be a de­ci­sive part­ner in find­ing a so­lu­tion that re­spects the com­mon but dif­fer­en­ti­ated re­spon­si­bil­ity for cli­mate pro­tec­tion.”

head of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment’s del­e­ga­tion in China

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