On the occasion of celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement on climate change, as the then chairman of the United Nations Climate Change Paris Conference, I want to emphasize the importance of China’s role in the indispensable fight against climate change.
The Paris Agreement is the first universally accepted tool to deal with climate change. The “Paris Agreement” pointed out that all parties will strengthen their response to the threat of climate change, keep the global average temperature within 2 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial level, and work hard to keep the temperature increase within 1.5 degrees Celsius. All parties promise to achieve relevant goals in stages by means of “independent contributions”.
People often ask me the reasons for the success of the Paris Conference on Climate Change, and I always emphasize that without China’s active support, the Paris Agreement cannot be reached.
Before the Paris Conference on Climate Change, China and the United States issued a joint statement on climate change, expressing their belief and desire that climate change is one of the most significant challenges facing mankind, and China and the United States are committed to reaching a fruitful agreement in Paris.
Europe and China and the United States have met each other halfway, especially France, the host of the Paris Conference on Climate Change. This collaboration set the tone for success.
On the evening of December 12, 2015, I finally announced the passage of the Paris Agreement. Looking back on that moment, I will never forget the thumbs up and smile on the face of Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change affairs. Indeed, China played a key role in reaching the Paris Agreement.
Five years later, scientists still agree on the issue of climate change: the situation is very critical. Disasters such as storms, floods, droughts, and fires are increasing, causing tremendous damage to lives, economy, society, and the environment, with the most vulnerable groups bearing the brunt.
In the past five years, the performance of certain countries in implementing the Paris Agreement has been disappointing. The US government’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement undermined multilateralism and broke the consensus on implementing the agreement.
This year, the new crown pneumonia epidemic is raging around the world, and the economic recovery plans formulated by various countries must include both economic revitalization and climate change. We cannot expect to get a “climate change vaccine”, we need a green recovery.
On September 22 this year, President Xi Jinping announced in his speech at the general debate of the 75th UN General Assembly that China will increase its nationally determined contributions, adopt more effective policies and measures, and strive to reach its peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
And strive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. China’s forthcoming “14th Five-Year Plan” will play an important role in how to fulfill these promises. This is China’s major contribution to the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The China action announced by President Xi Jinping has rekindled real hope for the world.
In order to make a common and coordinated response to climate change, we must act faster and jointly implement the Paris Agreement. The European Commission has announced the “European Green Agreement”, a new deal to deal with climate change, and is promoting the formulation of the “European Climate Law.” This is an ambitious plan that includes member states’ commitment to achieve effective carbon neutrality by 2050. In October this year, Japan and South Korea also announced their goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The UK has also set its own emission reduction targets. These emission reduction commitments will have a positive political effect.
2021 will be an extremely important year for combating climate change. China will host the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Kingdom will host the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. At the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, ambitious goals must be set to stop the violation of biodiversity, and maintaining biodiversity plays an important role in response to climate change.
The climate change conference to be held in the UK next year is equally significant. All parties should make clear commitments to reduce emissions, and developed countries should help developing countries obtain the necessary funds to deal with climate change. All parties must be ambitious to promote technological innovation and fairness and justice to ensure the full implementation of the Paris Agreement.
I still remember that President Xi Jinping quoted French writer Hugo in his speech at the opening ceremony of the Paris Conference on Climate Change: “The greatest determination will produce the highest wisdom.” We must take concrete measures to deal with climate change in order to build a resilient and fair , Balanced and sustainable world.
The key to the success of the Paris Conference on Climate Change in 2015 is multilateral cooperation, especially cooperation between China and Europe. Today, the opportunity to rebuild multilateral cooperation in climate governance still exists. As long as we resolutely move in this direction, we will be able to rejuvenate the “Paris Agreement” and lay a solid foundation for achieving sustainable human development and ensuring humanity’s continuity.