China’s top Cop26 delegate says it is taking ‘real action’ on climate targets

China has detailed and concrete plans on how to meet its climate commitments, and is pushing those plans forward vigorously, unlike some countries that are “paying lip service” to their climate targets, the head of delegation for China at the Cop26 climate talks 言った.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s veteran chief official, 前記: “President Xi [Jinping] announced recently on many multilateral occasions China’s specific targets and concrete policies, measures and actions. We have a policy framework to ensure that we can achieve our climate target.”

彼が追加した: “If we only make promises without taking real action then we are just simply paying lip service to make a show rather than taking real action.」

His words were a clear dig at developed countries which have set out targets without firm policies to back them up.

The issue of how far countries are following up their pledges of emissions cuts with concrete policies and action has become the key issue at the Cop26 talks. 火曜日に, the Climate Action Tracker (CAT) published an analysis showing that the world was on track for a devastating 2.4C of heating, far above the upper limit of 2C set out in the Paris agreement, and even further adrift of the safer 1.5C limit being targeted at Cop26.

The CAT analysis stood in stark contrast to optimistic estimates last week that current pledges would limit heating to 1.8C. Those pledges were based on long-term targets that countries have set out, for mid-century and beyond, while CAT based its forecast on pledges for this decade, which are crucial to holding the world within 1.5C.

When only targets with concrete policies and actions to back them up are taken into account, the forecast temperature increase from CAT rises to 2.7C, a level that would be catastrophic for the planet.

China has long prided itself on “under-promising and over-delivering”, by only making emissions pledges that are backed up with action. The country has said it will hit peak emissions by 2030, and reach net zero emissions by 2060, targets which have disappointed many other countries and experts, who believe the world’s biggest emitter is capable of moving much faster.

In pointed remarks aimed at the US, その president Joe Biden slammed Xi for not attending the Glasgow talks, Xie said: “It’s unfair to point fingers at countries who haven’t come. Because the final, the ultimate standard to extend the ambitions and efforts of certain countries is not by what promise they have made. It’s by what action they have taken. Action becomes the key for our efforts of addressing climate change.”

In a rare and extensive interview with the Guardian, Xie implicitly chided the US president: “Climate change is already threatening the development of humanity. The situation is becoming more severe. We need to pull together and help each other instead of pointing fingers at each other, because that is pointless and does not offer any help.”

Xie also signalled that China was reluctant to heed calls from many developing countries for governments to revise their national carbon-cutting targets. As the CAT analysis shows, countries’ current targets for 2030 – called nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – are far adrift of the 1.5C goal, and if they are not revised soon the 1.5C goal will be out of reach.

But under the Paris agreement, countries are only obliged to revise their NDCs every five years. Many countries want to force nations to revise them every year, if their plans are judged inadequate.

Xie signalled that China wanted to stick to the five-year timetable, but did not rule out a change, and expressed sympathy with the plight of the small island states which are pushing hardest for the more frequent timetable. 彼は言った: “This is a highly controversial issue in the ongoing negotiations. We fully understand the adverse impact of climate change on those small island countries. I’ve been to many small island countries before and have seen with my own eyes the impact of hurricanes and rising sea levels on them.”

He signalled that if there was a change, China could be exempted because of the detailed nature of its plans: “I think that whether the NDCs should be updated annually depends on what content is in it. 実は, I think stable and long-term NDCs is more helpful for countries to carry out action to achieve targets.”

He again made the point that some countries were making promises without clear plans. “We think that the most important thing for NDCs is actually to take real action to implement this step by step. Otherwise, the NDCs are only empty promises without substantial measures and actions.”

Xie added: “We think that as long as we can follow the principles and spirit of the Paris agreement it is possible for us to find a proper solution on [more frequent NDCs] at this Cop.”

Xie also criticised rich countries for failing to fulfil their pledges on providing the developing world with $100bn (£74bn) a year in climate finance from 2020, to reduce emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate breakdown. 彼は言った: “It’s a pity that only $80bn has been gathered and mobilised. We are still $20bn short from our target. We hope that at this Cop there can be a clear timetable and road map [to fulfilling the target].」