Xi welcomes US’ return to Paris agreement, says nations must honour climate pledges

K J M Varma
·4-min read

Beijing, Apr 22 (PTI) President Xi Jinping on Thursday welcomed America's return to the multilateral governance on climate change and said the countries should honour commitments to reduce carbon emissions as he reiterated China's pledge to peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

In his address to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate via video link convened by US President Joe Biden, who restored the US' commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, Xi said, 'China welcomes the US' return to the multilateral climate governance process. Not long ago, the Chinese and US sides released a Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis'.

'China looks forward to working with the international community including the United States to jointly advance global environmental governance,' he said.

Xi began his speech greeting Biden. 'I wish to thank President Biden for the kind invitation,' he said at the summit being hosted by Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The two-day virtual climate summit will see participation by over 40 world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

'It is good to have this opportunity to have an in-depth exchange of views with you on climate change, and to discuss ways to tackle this challenge and find a path forward for man and Nature to live in harmony,' Xi said.

The US and China are currently at loggerheads over a host of issues as the Biden administration continued tough policy to contain China initiated by former president Donald Trump targeting Beijing on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

But the two countries, however, looked to cooperate on climate issues as Biden’s special envoy on climate John Kerry recently visited Shanghai and held talks with his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua. They discussed the contours of cooperation between the top emitters of the global greenhouse gases – the US and China.

Xi said the countries should honour commitments.

'We need to work on the basis of international law, follow the principle of equity and justice, and focus on effective actions,' Xi said, calling on countries to uphold the UN-centered international system.

'In this process, we must join hands, not point fingers at each other; we must maintain continuity, not reverse course easily; and we must honour commitments, not go back on promises,' Xi said.

Xi reiterated that China for its part will fulfil its commitment. 'Last year, I made the official announcement that China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. This major strategic decision is made based on our sense of responsibility to build a community with a shared future for mankind,' he said.

'China has committed to move from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in a much shorter time span than what might take many developed countries, and that requires extraordinarily hard efforts from China,' he said.

'The targets of carbon peak and carbon neutrality have been added to China’s overall plan for ecological conservation. We are now making an action plan and are already taking strong nationwide actions toward carbon peak,' he said.

State support is being given to peaking pioneers from localities, sectors and companies, he said, adding that China will strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th Five-Year Plan period, which began this year and phase it down in the 15th Five-Year Plan period.

'Moreover, China has decided to accept the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and tighten regulations over non-carbon dioxide emissions. China’s national carbon market will also start trading,' he said.

Xi said China regards cooperation in the field of ecological progress as a key area for the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the multibillion global infrastructure development project being pursued by China to expand its global influence.

He made a six-point proposal on building a community of life for man and nature.

'To build a community of life for man and nature, we must be committed to harmony between man and nature, green development, systemic governance, a people-cantered approach, multilateralism, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities,' Xi added. PTI KJV ZH ZH