China, India stress climate commitments at global summit

14 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

LONDON: China and India edged forward in their commitment to lower carbon pollution on Saturday, issuing a string of promises that experts said fell short of action needed from the two emerging giants.

President Xi Jinping told a virtual climate summit that China would work to reduce the intensity of its emissions by 65 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, reports AFP.

Xi promised to “aim to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030”, repeating a pledge he made in September, when the world’s largest emitter said it would achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.

He told the summit that renewables would account for 25 percent of China’s primary energy consumption by 2030, and it would aim to have 1,200 gigawatts of solar and wind capacity installed by then. More than 70 heads of state were addressing the Climate Ambition Summit, co-hosted by Britain, France and the United Nations on the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement.

Under the Paris deal, countries must resubmit new plans to cut emissions every five years, with current commitments insufficient to achieve the accord’s primary goal of limiting global warming to “well below” 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit).

The UN said this week that global carbon pollution fell a record seven percent in 2020 due to pandemic response measures that curbed free movement and electricity demand.

But it said that the emissions of China—the first to lock down and to reopen its economy after the virus emerged in the city of Wuhan a year ago—fell just 1.7 percent as Beijing sought a swift rebound from Covid-19.

Xi reiterated China’s view that while it is still developing economically, richer countries should step up more.