Source: telegraph.co.uk Published: 2015-12-21
The landmark agreement on climate change reached in Paris on Dec 12 was the right choice made by all parties at a historic juncture, China’s special representative on the issue said.
The deal was “equitable and reasonable, comprehensive and balanced, ambitious, durable and effective”, Xie Zhenhua said, adding that it reflected principles of common but different responsibilities, and equity.
“It’s not a perfect deal, and there is still room for improvement, but it doesn’t hinder us from taking a historic step,” Mr Xie said after agreement was reached.
The first universal agreement on climate change was adopted after years of negotiations among 195 countries, ushering in an era of the low-carbon economy.
The deal sets a long-term goal for limiting global temperature rises to below 2C from pre-industrial times until 2100, or even 1.5C if action is taken quickly enough, sending a signal for policymakers and businesses to react quickly.
Mr Xie, who has headed the Chinese delegation to the United Nations climate conference for nine years, said the Paris gathering was a crucial point in the global climate governance process.
He also praised the diplomatic wisdom of the host country France in making the meeting a success.
The French government had frequently exchanged views with different parties in the past two years and showed great leadership in driving the negotiations forward in a transparent way, negotiators said.
Yang Fuqiang, a senior adviser on energy, environment and climate change at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said China had played a constructive role in supporting the achievement of an ambitious and strong Paris agreement.
In the past six years, the country has moved faster than many other nations in making a low-carbon transition.
It has committed to its carbon dioxide emissions peaking by 2030 and to contributing 20 billion yuan (£2.06 billion) to the South-South Climate Cooperation Fund to help developing countries address climate change.
It has also invested heavily in renewable energy in recent years. Observers said China had made great efforts in representing the Group of 77 developing countries and the BASIC group — Brazil, South Africa, India and China — to ensure the meeting was a success.
Co-ordination on climate change between China and the United States also provided positive impetus for the negotiations and provided solutions to a number of key issues, they said.
Li Shuo, senior climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia, said China’s role in Paris should be judged on what happened over the previous two weeks and in the two years before the conference.
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What they say
“The landmark climate accord will bring the environmental sector into a new era. In the short term, policies that come with the accord will create opportunities for environment-related stocks. In the long-term, industry will benefit from new policies, new business models and price reforms.”
cailianexperess.com, quoting analysis from Essence Securities
“The targets show that China has taken the lead in global action on climate change, experts say.”
Han Xiao, an analyst with the nongovernmental think tank CR-Expert Consulting
“China has switched from being forced to cut emissions to ‘We want to cut emissions’. This switch is largely related to the mounting problem of air pollution, especially since 2009.”
Chen Xiaochen, a researcher with Renmin University of China’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies
“Staving off an increase in atmospheric temperature of 2C will greatly affect people’s lives and deeply change the current industrial structure. For China, the pressure will be most keenly felt in the coal industry, already faced with excess capacity.”
Du Huanfeng, a reporter for National Business Daily
“Green industries, including the environmental protection sector and all sectors that are environmentally friendly, will be the core dynamic in sustaining economic growth in China over the next 10 years.”