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China plays leading role at Paris climate change conference

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

12-03-2015 15:40 BJT

By Hou Jun, a Ph.D. candidate majoring in International Relations at Research Institute of International Relations, China Foreign Affairs University

The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was inaugurated in Nov. 30 in Paris. Chinese President Xi Jinping was in attendance.


It’s the first time China's top leader went to the UNFCCC. The convention aims to reach a balanced agreement in response to climate change after 2020. Since Beijing plays an important role in global climate governance and its proposals have drawn more attention worldwide, the Chinese government can achieve positive results in negotiations.

Common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and capabilities.

The global climate change issue focuses on sustainable development of each country. Climate change is allegedly caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Data discloses that less than 1/4 of the world’s population live in  developed countries, which accounted for around 70% of global CO2 emissions between 1750 and 2010.

Developed countries must play a more active part in global climate governance, while developing countries are in the phase of economic and social improvement.

If developing countries are required to share the same responsibilities as the developed nations that would seriously harm developing countries’ capability to survive. Yet, no country could shelter itself from global warming hazards. Beijing has proposed common but differentiated responsibilities, widely-recognized by many developing nations.

China has adopted green and sustainable development as a long-term strategy. Compared with 2005, by 2014 China’s total CO2 emissions had dropped by 33.8% and the energy intensity per unit of GDP (gross domestic product) reduced by 29.9%. The country would initiate a carbon emission trading system in 2017.

Specifying emission reductions and binding protocols.

Some countries have significant disputes with emission reductions targets, but, France, the host country still insists on signing a deal.

Beijing has called for relevant parties to draft emission reductions targets between 2020 and 2030, along with definite reductions targets for developed counties by 2030. China has taken steps to draw up an action plan for 2030.

Major targets include that its carbon emissions will peak around 2030, carbon emissions down 60%-65% per unit of GDP compared with 2005, the ratio of non-fossil energy accounting for 20% of primary energy consumption, and the forest reserves adding 4.5 billion cubic meters compared with 2005.

Developed countries should fulfill capital and technology commitments.

During the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in 2009, rich countries had committed to fund Green Climate Funds for developing countries by investing USD 100 billion annually from 2013 to 2020.

However, the total capital of Green Climate Fund only reached USD 10 billion by 2014. Meanwhile, Beijing has been supportive of funding. In September 2015, China announced the establishment of South-South Cooperation Fund on Climate Change by investing RMB 20 billion (3.1 billion U.S. dollars).

Xi Jinping is expected to galvanize developed countries to deliver on their commitments in Paris.  China’s actions on climate change have been widely-acclaimed. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, said emission reduction plans initiated and funded by Beijng are substantial.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praises China as a responsible economy by “taking a courageous step.” Beijing endorses green development put forward at the 5th Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. China will boost its influence at the UNFCCC.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.



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