China Is Firmly Committed to Global Climate Governance

Global climate governance is a long-term endeavor that will clearly not be completed within the foreseeable future. However, China will continue to contribute toward making it a reality.

Climate change is a common challenge facing all of mankind. As the world’s largest developing country, China is not only a victim of climate change, but also an active participant in and important contributor to global climate governance.

China was among the first countries to sign the Paris Agreement. On the morning of Sept. 3, 2016, before the opening of the 2016 G20 Summit in Hangzhou, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress approved China’s accession to the agreement. In Hangzhou, then-United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon commended China’s action, saying that by formally joining the Paris Agreement, China added “powerful momentum to the drive for the agreement to enter into force” in that year.

Although former U.S. President Donald Trump announced on June 1, 2017 that the United States would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, China still adheres to its commitments and has helped the agreement achieve stability and long-term implementation.

China has made vigorous efforts to achieve peak carbon emissions and carbon neutrality. On Sept. 22, 2020, China announced at the U.N. General Assembly that it would increase its nationally determined contributions, adopt more powerful policies and measures, strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. In fact, reaching this goal is a major strategic decision made by China. It is not only an inevitable choice for China in solving its own problems related to resources and environmental constraints, but also a solemn commitment to pushing for global climate governance and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Global climate governance involves the interests of all parties. Whether the international negotiations on climate change can proceed smoothly depends on all the countries of the world. As a result, it is a complicated issue that requires consultation, conciliation as well as bargaining among all the state and non-state actors. China has been actively participating in all international negotiations on climate change, while adhering to the principles of fairness, “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities,” and respecting the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Montreal Protocol.

In fact, China has promoted the establishment of multilateral consultation mechanisms such as the BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change and coordinated the negotiation positions of major developing countries so as to safeguard the interests and unity of all developing countries.

Visitors pose for photos in front of China’s pavilion at the Green Zone of the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Dec. 3, 2023. (Photo/Xinhua)

The effectiveness of global climate governance is partly determined by the capacity for financing all of the actions for dealing with climate change. As one of the world’s largest emerging economies, China has been offering financial assistance to other developing countries, particularly the small island countries, African countries and the least developed countries. In promoting cooperation, China wishes to adhere to the concept that “it is better to teach someone how to fish rather than give them a fish” within the framework of South-South cooperation.

At the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, for instance, China pledged to further strengthen cooperation with African countries in the fields of ecological and environmental protection. These include areas such as responding to climate change, using clean energy, preventing and controlling soil desertification and soil erosion, and protecting wild animals and plants, so as to turn China and Africa into a beautiful homeland where man and nature live in harmony.

It is estimated that, from 2011 to 2021, China allocated approximately 1.2 billion yuan for South-South cooperation to strengthen climate change mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, it signed 40 cooperation documents with 35 countries. China’s assistance covers many areas, including launching meteorological satellites, building photovoltaic power generation systems and lighting equipment, manufacturing new energy vehicles, environmental monitoring equipment, clean stoves and other climate change-related goods, and establishing low-carbon demonstration zones. At the same time, around 2,000 officials and technicians from nearly 120 developing countries have visited China for climate change training.

In stark contrast to the United States’ announcement that it would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Chinese leaders have reiterated China’s global climate governance proposition on numerous occasions, sending powerful signals of determination and courage to the world. Meanwhile, China has also repeatedly called upon the world to strengthen unity and cooperation to deal with climate change and adhere to multilateralism, safeguard the international system and international law.

Global climate governance is a long-term endeavor that will clearly not be completed within the foreseeable future. However, China will continue to contribute toward making it a reality.