China hoping US will rejoin global climate change fight

China is hoping the United States will rejoin the Paris climate agreement and contribute to the global agenda on fighting climate change, a senior envoy said yesterday.

China is hoping the United States will rejoin the Paris climate agreement and contribute to the global agenda on fighting climate change, a senior envoy said yesterday.

“China is willing to step up cooperation with the United States in climate change negotiations after the US said it will stay in the talks although it has withdrawn from the accord,” China’s Special Representative on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua told a press conference.

“China has made it clear that it is willing to enhance cooperation with the US in the areas of clean energy utilization, energy and resource conservation, carbon capture and storage, as well as other research and development,” he said.

The Paris Agreement, backed by almost every country in the world, aims to tackle climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and sets a global target of keeping the average temperature rise no higher than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

US President Donald Trump said in June that he had decided to pull the US out of the landmark global accord.

Xie was speaking ahead of the 23rd UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Bonn, Germany from November 6 to 17, at which a guideline for the implementation of the Paris Agreement will be defined.

Xie said China hoped participants will be able to reach a draft guideline reflecting the needs of all parties and all the key elements in the agreement.

The draft guideline could lay a foundation for all parties to complete negotiations on the implementation details of the agreement in 2018, he said.

Xie also underlined the necessity of reviewing the implementation of countries’ pledges on tackling climate change before 2020.

Developed countries need to work out a timetable at the conference on fulfilling their promise to provide developing countries with funding and technology worth US$100 billion every year leading up to 2020, Xie said.

“It will enable countries to build political trust and enhance confidence in the international community in fulfilling obligations and honoring commitment,” he said.

German authorities expect 25,000 people at the Bonn conference, including representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations.

Xie said China remains committed to its pledge by taking on obligations that match its development stage, due responsibilities and actual capabilities. Over the past 10 years, while maintaining economic growth, China also cut emissions of 4.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide, he said.

Last year, the country cut its carbon intensity, the measure of carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP, by 6.6 percent, surpassing its goal of 3.9 percent.

In the first three quarters of this year, the carbon intensity dropped by around 4 percent, said Li Gao, an official with the climate change department of the National Development and Reform Commission.

Last year, China’s energy consumption per unit of GDP fell 5 percent. In the first three quarters of 2017, it declined 3.8 percent year on year. The share of coal use in the country’s total energy consumption has fallen by more than three percentage points since 2016.

The government has promised to reduce its carbon intensity by 18 percent, and to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 15 percent, by 2020 from 2016.

Li said China will establish a national carbon trading market this year. Since 2011, when pilot programs began, more than 20 industries and nearly 3,000 emitters have been involved in the scheme. By the end of September this year, China had traded a total of 197 million tons of carbon dioxide with a value of 4.5 billion yuan (US$678 million).

China will steadily move the program forward with a market-based approach and fair and open principles, he said.

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