Protection of Earth calls for ambition of mankind to cope with climate change

By He Yin

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Dec. 12 delivered an important speech at the Climate Ambition Summit via video link. His remarks have chartered the course, enhanced confidence and boosted the power for the world to better respond to climate change.

Xi proposed to make new advances in climate governance that features cooperation and win-win, foster a new architecture of climate governance where every party does its part, and pursue a new approach to climate governance that highlights green recovery. He also announced some further commitments of China to contributing to climate governance.

Climate change concerns mankind’s well-being and future, and to cope with it calls for ambition and resolution.

Five years ago, world leaders showed utmost political resolve and wisdom and adopted the Paris Agreement on climate change, which chartered the course for the world to cooperate on climate change response after 2020. The agreement’s goal is to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared with pre-industrial levels.

According to a report released by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) earlier this month, global temperatures from January to October were around 1.2 degrees Celsius higher than pre-industrial levels. 2011-2020 will be the warmest decade on record, with the warmest six years all being since 2015, the WMO said.

To cope with climate change is an urgent task. At the Climate Ambition Summit, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on governments around the world to declare a state of climate emergency.

“In meeting the climate challenge, no one can be aloof and unilateralism will get us nowhere. Only by upholding multilateralism, unity and cooperation can we deliver shared benefits and win-win for all nations,” Xi said at the summit. The reaching of the Paris Agreement was a victory of multilateralism, and the implementation of it cannot go with multilateral cooperation. Following the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, all countries need to maximize actions in light of their respective national circumstances and capabilities. At the same time, developed countries need to scale up support for developing countries in financing, technology and capacity building.

China was among the earliest to sign the Paris Agreement, urged the G20 to release its first presidency statement on climate change, and promoted the negotiation on the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement. Besides, it also established the South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change to help developing countries better cope with climate change. All these efforts prove China’s firm support for the multilateral process on climate change.

The Paris Agreement represents the general direction of the world’s transition toward green and low-carbon development. It is a minimum requirement for the protection of the planet Earth, and must be resolutely implemented.

Xi announced in September that China would scale up its nationally determined contributions and adopt more vigorous policies and measures, saying China will peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Andrea Guerrero García, a Senior Advisor for Mission 2020, supporting the UN Secretary General’s team on the 2019 Climate Summit, called China’s commitment the strongest signal ever received by the world since the inking of the Paris Agreement. Financial Times also said in an article that world leaders praised China’s pledge at critical time for Paris climate accord.

At the Climate Ambition Summit, Xi announced some further commitments for 2030: China will lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65 percent from the 2005 level, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 percent, increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters from the 2005 level, and bring its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts

French President Emmanuel Macron also praised the outstanding cooperation between China and France on the implementation of the Paris Agreement in recent years at the Climate Ambition Summit.

China is a responsible major developing country. It has always been active in participating in global climate governance. The country has vigorously advanced ecological civilization construction, and proactively implemented the principles of innovative, coordinated, green, open, and shared development, pushing for comprehensive green transition of its society and economy amid high-quality development.

China attained its 2020 climate action targets ahead of schedule, and non-fossil fuel now takes up 15.3 percent in China’s total energy consumption. The country has 30 percent of the world’s installed capacity of renewable energy, and is home to over half of the world’s new energy vehicles. Besides, China also accounted for over a quarter of the world’s total extra foliage between 2000 and 2017. The contribution made by China’s afforestation to reducing greenhouse gases was recognized by the Nature magazine in an article it published this year.

Earth is our only and shared home. It’s a shared mission of mankind to launch a new journey for global climate actions. Though the destination is far ahead, it will finally be reached with concrete actions. No matter how the international landscape may change, countries shall uphold the mission of building a community with a shared future for mankind, united together for more ambition and confidence, so as to make greater contribution to the world’s efforts to cope with climate change.