China says stopping Climate Change needs everybody to get involved
22 November 2019 | Mitigation
Facing down the challenges of climate change requires multilateral cooperation and global carbon emission reduction goals, according to China’s special representative for climate change affairs.
China has always sought a “multilateral system” on climate change negotiations, and is willing to work with the U.S. to help reign in global warming, Xie Zhenhua, told a session of the New Economy Forum in Beijing on Thursday.
The comments contrast with the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull the world’s biggest economy out of the main multinational attempt to stave off global warming, the Paris climate accords.
Xie, who’s also president of the Institute of Climate Change & Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University, said China has an advantage when pursuing climate goals, as it’s central control of the economy provides levers to implement cleaner policies.
China is somewhat of a paradox in the climate change struggle. It has spent more money than any other country on clean energy and provides cheap exports of green technology to markets globally. Yet it’s still the world’s biggest carbon emitter, consumes about half the planet’s coal and is estimated to have enough coal power plants in the pipeline to match the entire capacity of the European Union.
The scientific consensus about what’s needed to control warming has shifted over the past few years. The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last fall issued an influential report suggesting that carbon emissions must be cut in half by 2030 and all the way down to zero by 2050. The International Energy Agency’s latest annual long-term report shows greenhouse gas pollution is still on track to grow through 2040, despite a pickup in the rate of growth for wind and solar power.
Each nation needs to set targets for carbon reduction to bring global emissions down, Xie said. Currently existing carbon markets aren’t working and the issue will need “sufficient discussions” at the UN’s COP25 conference in Madrid next month, the world’s largest climate summit.
The New Economy Forum is being organized by Bloomberg Media Group, a division of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.