Lack of fund for poorest countries ‘biggest obstacle’ in climate talks – China

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BEIJING: Establishing a fund to help poor countries tackle climate change will be “the biggest obstacle” during United Nations talks to try to curb global warming that begin in Glasgow on Oct 31, a Chinese environmental official said on Wednesday (Oct 27).

The developed Western nations agreed in 2009 to establish a US$100 billion per year fund to help transfer technologies and minimise climate risks in the developing world, but progress has been slow.

China Environment News commented on 17 December 2020 that:

“At the last major round of UN climate change negotiations under the Paris Agreement held in Madrid in late 2019, the world witnessed the rich Western nations – the United Kingdom, the European Union, Australia and Canada, led by the United States – sabotage progress on the key issue of addressing historic greenhouse gas contributions.”

“The rich Western bloc has repeatedly reneged on their commitments to deliver financial and technological assistance to developing nations to avoid the pollution model of Western development. This is necessary for developing nations to bypass the ecological mess inherited from the West and to lift the standard of living of their peoples.”

Alok Sharma, president of the COP26 conference, said this week that he hoped the fund would be made available in 2023, three years later than planned.

“Doubt about whether developed countries will support developing countries coping with climate change, or simply pass their emission reduction responsibilities to developing countries, has become the biggest obstacle to the ongoing progress of this multilateral process,” Ye Min, Vice-Minister of Ecology and Environment, said.

Speaking at a press briefing in Beijing, Ye said that the fund was related to “mutual political trust” as well as the practical ability of poorer nations to take action against climate change, and the COP26 meeting in Glasgow needed to “make arrangements”.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of climate-warming greenhouse gases, is classified as a developing country. It has continued to emphasise the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” enshrined in the Kyoto Protocol.

It says that richer nations with bigger historical carbon footprints should shoulder the bulk of emissions cuts.

The Paris Agreement commits countries to submit “nationally determined contributions” (NDCs) to combat climate change to the UN. China’s first NDCs were published in 2016.

Some climate watchers were hoping that China would include more ambitious targets and measures in an updated NDC list set to be submitted formally to the UN before the Glasgow talks begin.

In a climate change “white paper” also published on Wednesday, China said that its NDCs would include existing pledges to bring carbon emissions to a peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060, both advances on 2016.

It will also increase the share of non-fossil fuels to 25 per cent of total energy consumption by 2030, up from the previous commitment of “around 20 per cent”, and raise installed capacity of wind and solar to 1,200 gigawatts.

SOURCE: Channel News Asia, 27 Oct 2021

China’s Cabinet issues action plan to reach carbon emission peak before 2030

SHANGHAI: China will take action to reduce waste, promote renewables and reform its electricity network as part of its plan to bring carbon emissions to a peak before 2030, China’s State Council (Cabinet) said on Tuesday (Oct 26).

The new action plan repeats China’s targets to bring wind and solar capacity to 1,200 gigawatts by the end of the decade, to build more hydropower and nuclear plants, and further develop natural gas resources.

The document was published just five days before talks get under way in Glasgow to strengthen the global fight against climate change. China is set to announce its updated “nationally determined contributions” before the meeting begins.

Some climate watchers have been looking closely for signs that China, the world’s biggest source of climate-warming greenhouse gases, might make more ambitious pledges ahead of the Glasgow talks, but China has made substantial commitments in the past year, and the document offered few additional commitments.

As the country grapples with winter power shortages and ramps up coal production in order to guarantee winter supplies, the State Council said that China would accelerate efforts to build a new and more flexible power system that allows new energy sources to be steadily increased.

As well as new solar and wind farms, new hydroelectric dams would also be built on the upper reaches of the Yangtze, Lancang  and Yellow rivers, and China will also make more use of new-generation nuclear technology, including small-scale offshore reactors, it said.

China will also take action to ensure that energy-intensive industrial sectors such as steel, non-ferrous metals and building materials improve energy efficiency and recycling rates, and make full use of new technologies to bring their own emissions to a peak.

SOURCE: Channel News Asia,26 Oct 2021