China climate blow
UK call for new carbon pledge gets brush off
CHINA has rebuffed UK climate tsar Alok Sharma’s pleas for a tougher pledge on global warming, saying it will not yield to international pressure.
The minister failed to secure new commitments from Beijing ahead of November’s UN climate summit in Glasgow, COP26.
Mr Sharma, as COP26 president, visited China with the intention of persuading its leaders to ‘enhance’ their carbon reduction targets.
But they said they would not adjust the country’s plan that carbon use would peak by 2030. They have said the aim is to hit the carbon neutral target by 2060. China of is greenhouse the world’s gases biggest and producer is under pressure to announce more ambitious measures to curb its use of coal. Its defiance, say critics, has led to provincial governments commissioning a wave of new coal-fired power stations.
Mr Sharma said: ‘I have had constructive discussions… but time is running out. The choices that China makes, on their energy mix, and on coal specifically, will shape our shared future.’ However, Chinese state media characterised Mr Sharma’s comments during the visit as ‘hailing China’s efforts in tackling climate change’. The Global Times, a Communist party-run newspaper, added: ‘China has already announced its own climate road map and will stick to its own pace.’
The snub from China came as UK ministers were accused of dropping climate commitments from a trade deal with Australia.
A leaked email from a senior official in the Cabinet Office showed how International Trade Secretary Liz Truss and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng had agreed to ‘drop both of the climate asks’, including ‘a reference to Paris Agreement temperature goals’, Sky News reported. Sky said Australia had demanded the language around commitments be dropped.
A Government spokesman said: ‘Our ambitious trade deal with Australia will include a substantive article on climate change.’
■ The vast majority of oil and gas must never be extracted from the earth if there is any hope of limiting global warming to just 1.5C, say researchers. They calculate that to meet the target, 90 per cent of known coal reserves and 60 per cent of oil and gas reserves must stay in the ground.
The researchers at University College London based their estimates on computer models of worldwide energy production. Researcher Dan Welsby said ‘Dramatic cuts in fossil fuel production are required immediately.’