Photo taken on Nov. 15, 2017 shows the pavilion of China in "Bonn Zone" of UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany. Events, exhibitions and presentations of countries and UN organizations attending the UN climate talks are held here aimed to raise the awareness of the climate change across the world. (Xinhua/Shan Yuqi)
BONN, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- As the world once again focused on climate change at the UN climate talks in Bonn, China, as the largest developing country, also attracted worldwide attention for how it acted.
Through statements made in official speeches, active participation in the Bonn talks, and various side events the country organized to exchange ideas and practices, China has reasserted itself a responsible player in global battle against climate change at the 23rd Conference of Parties (COP23) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
China's special representative on climate change affairs Xie Zhenhua stated at an event of the COP23, that as a responsible developing country, China conscientiously takes on its international obligations that match both its development stage and actual capacity, and implements the Paris Agreement with concrete action.
OVER DELIVERED ON CLIMATE TARGETS
In terms of domestic efforts, "China has over delivered on achieving its targets in fighting climate change, and reversed the rapid rise of CO2 emission that had lasted for years," Xie stated while addressing a high-level meeting of COP23.
From 2005 to 2015, China's economy had grown by 1.48 times, and at the same time the carbon intensity, the measure of CO2 emission per unit of GDP, had dropped by 38.6 percent, Xie said, adding the country had avoided emitting 4.1 billion tonnes of CO2.
Moreover, the share of coal in the total consumption of energy had decreased from 72 percent to 64 percent in the 2005-2015 time frame, while the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption rose from 7.4 percent to 12 percent, and at the same time, the country's forest reserve had expanded by 3 billion cubic meters, according to Xie.
"This year, we will jumpstart the nation-wide carbon-trading market," Xie said during his speech.
China's domestic climate actions have been widely recognized in the international community.
Barbara Hendricks, German environment minister, told Xinhua that she is aware that China planned to build far fewer thermal power plants than five years ago, and to generate more and more power from renewable energy, which means China is on a good path of development.
Dylan Murray, policy advisor with the Nature Conservancy, told Xinhua "China is taking real steps to peak emissions".
In the future, China's economy will further decouple with fossil fuels, and tougher controls on the efficiency, or even on the total consumption of coal are foreseeable, estimated Liu Qiang, director of Strategy and Planning Department of the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation.
GUARDIAN OF MULTILATERAL PROCESSES
Globally, China has promised to peak its CO2 emission by around 2030, and made crucial contributions to the signing of the Paris Agreement that seeks to limit a rise in temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.
Norbert Salomon, deputy director of the Emission Control, Safety of Installations and Transport at the German Federal Ministry for Environment, said "China's engagement and contributions to combat climate change is itself an inestimable value for global community."
Xie Zhenhua pledged at a high-level meeting of the COP23 that China is ready to play the role as a guardian of multilateral processes and will work with other countries to ensure the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
At the COP23, China has played a proactive role, Gu Zihua, a Chinese negotiator, said in an interview with Xinhua.
"We have been substantially engaged in the talks on each agenda, and contributed China's proposals," Gu said. Moreover, China has been acted as a mediator of the developing countries to coordinate their stances and kept close consultations with the president on facilitative dialogue.
DRIVING SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION
China has set aside a total of 100 million U.S. dollars for South-South cooperation with 27 developing countries over the years, Xie announced at a high-level meeting at the COP23.
China has donated energy conserving or renewable-energy facilities as well as climate change surveillance instruments, and provided funds, technologies and capacity building to the least developed countries, small-island countries and African countries, according to Xie.
Best practices of many such projects are shared at the side events of COP 23. Among them, a project of low carbon town in Gampola, Sri Lanka, showed how China helped developing countries with adaptation.
Global Environmental Institute (GEI), a Chinese NGO, has completed assessment of solar energy and biomass potential of Gampola and introduced the Sri Lanka side to the fund for south south cooperation.
Ranish Hettige, deputy assistant secretary of Sri Lanka's Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry, told Xinhua that the GEI offered them toolkits, mechanisms and technologies to adapt to climate change. "It is very hard for Sri Lanka to afford many new technologies, like introducing solar energy or electric vehicles. There are funds from other countries like China that helped us to make sure we are adapting to climate change. The help of China is very important to us," Hettige said.
Now, with the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, a new opportunity arises for south-south climate cooperation. Robert Ddamulira, with the World Wildlife Fund in Uganda, said the initiative offers a great opportunity especially considering that China is a leading country in renewable energy.
Looking into the future, Wang Shi, a former real estate tycoon and now Chair of the Board of Vanke Foundation, said he is optimistic. Having followed the UN climate talks since Copenhagen in 2009, Wang said he had witnessed that the Chinese government is getting more and more proactive.
Moreover, when the foundation is promoting environmental projects in various Chinese localities, he found the green and low-carbon concept had been ingrained in everybody's mind.