In recent years, China has emerged as the most significant player in tackling environmental and climate change issues, following the resignation of the United States from the Paris agreement in 2017.
The Paris agreement is an ambitious accord signed in 2015 within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to address global greenhouse gas emissions finance, adaptation, and mitigation, due to start in 2020.
A series of goals to be accomplished by participating countries are indeed ambitious, yet the implementation guidelines for the agreement were vague in detail and left some nations wondering if the agreement would be effectively enforced.
The U.N. Climate Change Conference, based in Katowice, Poland, has the responsibility of finalizing the final draft of the guidelines and targets to finish the draft before the enforcement of the agreement. Major support from China reportedly has helped the foundation of the accord's principles.
China's special representative, Xie Zhenhua, stated that China had faced several enormous climate related difficulties in the past. Since then, China has successfully overcome and made contributions to global climate efforts. China will continue to play a leading role and support global efforts in dealing with climate change affairs.
Global society has urged many of the world's leaders to address climate change problems and to actively take action which will help to promote sustainable development and China has successfully respond to this problem.
Chinese government pledged to increase the non-fossil energy's share in domestic total energy consumption by 20 percent; decrease emissions per unit of GDP by around 60 percent from 2005 level of emissions; peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030; and push the forest stock volume by 4.5 billion cubic meters from 2005 level.
According to Xie, the government has invested more than USD 127 billion to improve the implementation of renewable energy in the country, making China the biggest spender for renewable energy technology in six consecutive years. 650 million kilowatts of renewable energy production capacity has been installed in the country, accounting for around 30 percent of the global renewable energy electricity.
Xie believes that China has achieved remarkable accomplishments in the development of renewable energy. Large-scale manufacturing and innovative technological breakthroughs have significantly reduced the manufacturing cost, which allow for renewable energy to be able to compete with conventional energy, such as coal.
China's major involvement in tackling global climate issues is an effort which is related to its own environment condition. Chinese government has understood that its climate is rapidly changing and becoming a major challenge, especially in urban cities where air pollution is severe.
Nicolas Pechet, Partner at YCP Solidiance, an Asian-focused corporate strategy consulting based in Shanghai, stated, "Chinese central government is attentively aware that social and economic stability may be disrupted when poor environmental conditions are not encountered as soon as possible."
Chinese economic development is heavily dependent on its industrial sector, however industrial activities in the country accounts for around 70 percent of the nation's energy consumption. In order to reduce the pollution and the exploitation of non renewable energy, the government is needed to move the economy away from heavy manufacturing. According to Pechet, efforts have been made by China to scale down non renewable energy use in heavy industry and now the economy has growth in a moderate stable pace.
China's determination to tackle global climate issues is reflected in The 13th Five-Year Plan which specifies an 18 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, 15 percent drop in energy consumption, and increasing national forest coverage to 23 percent.
"When all these targets are met, China will take a step closer in accomplishing its commitments mentioned in the Paris agreement to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 or even sooner." Pechet said.
Nicolas Pechet made the remarks after the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He delivered a talk on the future of global climate in the panel.
Source: New York Times