“Developed countries should earnestly abide by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, face up to their historical responsibilities, show greater ambition and action, and help developing countries enhance their capacity to meet the climate challenge in terms of financial, technological and capacity building support.”
- Hua Chunying, spokesperson for Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
Climate change is based on inequality
The post-industrial economic structure of the rich developed countries is highly consumption — rather than production — based, including consumption effects that draw produced goods from developing countries. By focusing emissions targets solely on production, rather than on consumption, as is the case currently, the global climate change accounting system disproportionately penalizes developing countries which quite naturally have a higher carbon content in their economic structures.
And this is before we consider cumulative (or historical) CO2 emissions – the Western industrialized countries cumulative CO2 emissions are 5 times those of China. Such emissions are important because CO2 persists for many years in the atmosphere. This means that a significant proportion of CO2 emissions accumulate over time both in the atmosphere and in the oceans. Past pollution does not just go away.
Common but differentiated responsibilities: China’s view
In response to US climate envoy John Kerry saying that he expected China to make further decisions to reduce emissions in the next 10 years, calling it a “key decade” to curb global warming, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that China has always been a country of action in promoting global climate governance, and noted that addressing climate change also needs developed countries to face up to their responsibilities to show greater ambition and action.
Hua Chunying, spokesperson for the ministry, said at a press conference that the global impact of climate change is becoming increasingly severe, and at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, many countries mentioned the need to strengthen cooperation on this issue.
“Each and every year is critical for countries to increase their ambition to reduce emissions and strengthen their implementation actions,” she stressed.
Hua pointed out that China has exceeded its 2020 climate action target ahead of schedule. In September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared China’s vision to reach peak carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 and to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions in 2060, and announced several new targets and initiatives to boost the country’s contribution, covering many factors such as carbon intensity, the share of non-fossil energy, total installed capacity of wind and solar power, coal consumption, and non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas control.
Addressing the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly on September 21, Xi reiterated that China will strongly support the green and low-carbon development of energy in developing countries.
“China has been doing its best, putting pressure on itself to step up climate action and striving to make a greater contribution to the global response to climate change,” Hua said.
Hua stressed that addressing climate change is a global challenge that requires concerted efforts by the international community.
“Developed countries should earnestly abide by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, face up to their historical responsibilities, show greater ambition and action, and help developing countries enhance their capacity to meet the climate challenge in terms of financial, technological and capacity building support,” she noted.
Source: Global Times, 30 Sept 2021
See also: China Environment, 12 July 2021, ‘Wests’s consumption of imports must be counted in its carbon footprint‘,