China to submit climate pledges before COP26 summit: Special Envoy
4th August 2021 13:05 GMT

China will submit its Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, and the corresponding implementation plan before the COP26 conference in October-November, and the submissions will cover all previous commitments including carbon peaking by 2030 and net zero by 2060, Xie Zhenhua, China's Special Envoy on Climate Change, said late Aug. 3 at an event hosted by a Hong Kong-based think tank.

The highly anticipated climate pledges by China, as the world's largest CO2 emitter and the largest developing economy, come at a time when the global climate debate has intensified and the European Commission has unveiled its ambitious "Fit for 55" program to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% below 1990 levels.

China's net zero target covers not only CO2 but also other greenhouse gases, such as methane (CH4) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Xie said, according to a video posted by the event organizer Our Hong Kong Foundation, a Hong Kong think tank established in 2014, as well as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

He said China had successfully met the targets under the previous NDC in 2020. China's energy intensity per dollar of GDP decreased by 42.4% from the baseline level in 2005 compared to its NDC target of 40%-45%, and its non-fossil fuel share of total energy consumption increased to 15.9% compared to a target of 15%, allowing it to make new commitments.

China has formulated a working group to facilitate the realization of carbon peaking and net zero targets, called a '1+N' regime, where '1' means a policy framework that provides guidance and sets targets for all provinces and key sectors, which will be released "very soon," and 'N' includes a set of supporting instruments, such as carbon peaking action plan, net zero roadmap, and detailed plans for individual sectors, Xie said.

According to Xie, the key sectors will include power generation, key industrial sectors (steel, non-ferrous metals, petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials), and transportation sectors.

He said the '1+N' regime will also cover energy savings, development of a circular economy, low-carbon technologies, green financing, supportive economic policies, development of a carbon market, and nature-based solutions.

China's approach

There are still unresolved issues that will be tackled at COP26 in Glasgow, Xie said.

The first issue is whether to set a flexible climate goal or a fixed goal to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees, as the target means every country needs to achieve net zero at around 2050, which is challenging and unfair to developing countries.

China supports the flexible goal which was previously agreed and reflect the understanding that different nations are at different stages of development, Xie said, adding that the 2 degree target is realistic while achieving 1.5 degree is an ideal target.

He said the second key issue is to finalize the implementation details of a global carbon market and pointed out that unilateral actions that tax goods under the carbon border adjustment mechanism deviate from the Paris Agreement.

"Paris Agreement Article 6 targets to establish a global carbon market with a reasonable carbon price, which means carbon border adjustment mechanism will not be necessary," Xie said.

Beside these two highly controversial and widely discussed issues, Xie said sufficient financial support from developed countries as well as technology innovation, collaboration and transfer need to be covered in COP26 discussions.

He emphasized that developed countries have met only $70 billion of the climate funds of $100 billion each year before 2020, committed under the Paris Agreement, and that profits from a global carbon market should help developing countries adapt to climate change actions.

Xie said it was vital to promote technological innovation and mechanisms to support collaborations among nations in order to achieve global climate targets, and politicalizing such collaborations should be avoided.

Bunkerworld ,
4th August 2021 13:05 GMT