Na­tion to play piv­otal role in talks to carry out Paris pact, en­voy says

... what­ever pol­icy the in­com­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion adopts, China can al­ways deepen its co­op­er­a­tion with the US to fight cli­mate change ...

China Daily (USA) - - TOP NEWS - By WANG YANFEI in Mar­rakech wangyan­fei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China will act as fa­cil­i­ta­tor to boost cli­mate ne­go­ti­a­tions on im­ple­ment­ing the Paris Agree­ment, re­gard­less of the stance that the-United States takes, the na­tion’s top cli­mate representative said on Tues­day.

Xie Zhen­hua, a vet­eran ne­go­tia­tor who led a team of more than 80 rep­re­sen­ta­tives from China, said on Tues­day that China has po­si­tioned it­self as an ac­tive pro­moter and will play a con­struc­tive part in ne­go­ti­a­tions aim­ing to turn the Paris pledges into ac­tions.

The land­mark cli­mate agree­ment aims to limit the global tem­per­a­ture in­crease to less than 2 C and strive to hold it to 1.5 C.

“China will not change its goals sub­mit­ted to the-United Na­tions, as well as its ap­proaches or stances to im­ple­ment the Paris Agree­ment,” said-Xie.

He was re­fer­ring to China’s de­vel­op­ing coun­try sta­tus and its pledges in the cli­mate pact to peak emis­sions around 2030 and tran­si­tion to a green and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment model.

“All the three will not be changed by other coun­tries, in­clud­ing the United States,” he added.

Xie made the com­ment af­ter Jonathan Per­sh­ing, the United States spe­cial en­voy, said on Mon­day in Mar­rakech that he did not know about the fu­ture of cli­mate pol­icy un­der Don­ald Trump’s pres­i­dency. He was re­spond­ing to concerns about a pos­si­ble US with­drawal from the Paris Agree­ment.

Xie said he was not sur­prised by the US re­sponse.

“The na­tion is un­der­go­ing a tran­si­tion phase. Cli­mate pol­icy is not the only un­known faced by the United States,” said Xie.

“China will just keep mov­ing on. We need to trea­sure ef­forts that we have made.”

Ne­go­tia­tors from nearly 200 par­ties to the agree­ment have gath­ered in Mar­rakech, Morocco, for the two-week United Na­tions Cli­mate Con­fer­ence from Nov 7 to Fri­day.

They are ex­pected to come up with a text on road maps to im­ple­ment the Paris Agree­ment by the end of Fri­day.

How­ever, the elec­tion of Trump as the next pres­i­dent of the US, the world’s sec­ond-car­bon emit­ter, over­shad­owed the cli­mate talks.

Trump re­fused dur­ing his cam­paign to con­cede that cli­mate change is caused by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties.

Gou Hongbo, deputy chief of the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion, said that China’s firm at­ti­tude to im­ple­ment the Paris pact has in­jected some con­fi­dence into the dif­fi­cult talks.

Gao Xiang, a ne­go­tia­tor with the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion, said he was op­ti­mistic about the re­sults of this year’s cli­mate talks.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions on trans­parency rules, which are a fun­da­men­tal is­sue in im­ple­ment­ing the Paris Agree­ment, were con­ducted early this week, ac­cord­ing to Gao.

“There is some good progress be­ing made in this as­pect,” he said. “We might have to leave some topics for next year, but the re­sult will not be too bad.”

China will not change its goals sub­mit­ted to the United Na­tions ... to im­ple­ment the Paris Agree­ment.” Xie Zhen­hua, China’s top cli­mate representative

What will be Don­ald Trump’s im­pact on Sino-US co­op­er­a­tion on cli­mate change af­ter he is sworn in asUS pres­i­dent in Jan­uary?

Ac­cord­ing to the Paris cli­mate change agree­ment, theUS has promised to cut its green­house gas emis­sions by 17 per­cent by 2020 and 26 to 28 per­cent by 2025 com­pared with the 2005 level. That tar­get can­not be re­al­ized un­less theUS honors its com­mit­ment by tak­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion.

To meet its prom­ise, theUS has to trans­form its power plants, cur­rently the largest green­house gas emit­ters, into green sources of en­ergy. But that seems un­likely, be­cause theUS Supreme Court has de­cided to post­pone the move.

Nev­er­the­less, cer­tainUS states and in­dus­tries have al­ready started tak­ing mea­sures to re­duce emis­sions, and their poli­cies and ac­tions might in turn influence theUS fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s even­tual de­ci­sion. For ex­am­ple, the per­cent­age of coal-gen­er­ated elec­tric­ity in theUS’ power in­dus­try mix dropped from about 50 per­cent in 2008 to 33 per­cent in 2015 thanks to the “shale gas rev­o­lu­tion”. And ther­mal plants were us­ing greener power-gen­er­at­ing meth­ods. There­fore, there is rea­son to be op­ti­mistic.

Be­sides, some ex­perts say that al­most al­lUS pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates play the “China-card” dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paign, yet af­ter en­ter­ing of­fice, they main­tain good re­la­tions with China be­cause it is in the best in­ter­est of Wash­ing­ton.

It is un­cer­tain whether Trump will act on what he said dur­ing his cam­paign— of tak­ing ac­tion against China if he won the pres­i­dency. But whether or not Trump honors the Barack Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s prom­ise to fight cli­mate change on a pri­or­ity ba­sis, Bei­jing has to con­tinue its dia- logue and in­ter­ac­tions with Wash­ing­ton on the is­sue, be­cause by push­ing joint ef­forts for­ward, it will serve the com­mon in­ter­ests of all as well as in­crease its global influence.

There­fore, China should con­tinue its global mul­ti­lat­eral cli­mate gov­er­nance and stick to the Bei­jing-Wash­ing­ton co­op­er­a­tive frame­work. Fight­ing cli­mate change is im­por­tant on mul­ti­lat­eral plat­forms, not least be­cause China has gained a lead­er­ship sta­tus on the is­sue. It’s time China made good use of that lead­er­ship and strength­ened global co­op­er­a­tion.

Be­sides, if the China-US co­op­er­a­tive mech­a­nism comes to a halt, China should en­cour­age co­op­er­a­tion at the lo­cal gov­ern­men­tal level and through unofficial chan­nels. For the past sev­eral years, Chi­nese and US cities have forged co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tion­ships to fight cli­mate change, and the two coun­tries have made joint state­ments on cli­mate change. China should make bet­ter use of such co­op­er­a­tive mech­a­nisms to deepen China-US co­op­er­a­tion.

In other words, what­ever pol­icy the in­com­ing Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion adopts, China can al­ways deepen its co­op­er­a­tion with the US to fight cli­mate change be­cause that will not only serve the in­ter­ests of both sides, but also ex­pand Bei­jing’s global influence. The au­thor is di­rec­tor of the In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion De­part­ment in Na­tional Cen­ter for Cli­mate Change Strat­egy and In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion.

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