Stressing cooperation, special envoy also urges real action from rich world
China's special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said that China will "fight its hardest" to achieve emissions and neutrality targets over the coming decades, and called on developed nations to follow up on climate pledges with real action.
Xie said that the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, or COP 26, provides an opportunity to construct "road maps for actionable policies and measures" and to ensure that countries "honor words with real deeds".
"China would like to join hands with the international community in its active response to the challenges of climate change," Xie told a virtual news conference on China's policies on climate change and ecological protection on Tuesday. The event was organized by the country's embassy in London.
Xie said that as "a big country, China shoulders big responsibility" in international efforts to meet the Paris Agreement and control global warming. He reiterated that China has committed to peaking emissions by 2030 and achieving net neutrality by 2060.
"China will fight its hardest to achieve this double target," said Xie, adding that he is confident the goals could even be met ahead of schedule.
Xie said that national climate targets needed to be supported by detailed action plans, such as China's forthcoming "1 N" policy framework for carbon peaking and neutrality, officially announced earlier this month by President Xi Jinping during the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP 15, in Kunming, Yunnan province.
Global challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss, and the COVID-19 pandemic "are all intertwined" and international engagement at conferences like COP 26 and COP 15 are essential to their resolution, he said.
"Multilateralism is key to resolving these issues," he said. "New chances and opportunities are given by meetings such as COP 26.And adhering to the principle of multilateralism means taking into account the concerns of all countries in a balanced way."
At the news conference, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom Zheng Zeguang said that developed nations must respect the varying situation in different countries, especially those nations still undergoing industrialization and urbanization.
"Developed countries should take the lead in reducing emissions. They should not pin all the responsibilities onto China and developing nations," Zheng said.
Zhao Yingmin, vice-minister of ecology and environment, said that China "holds high expectations" about what COP 26 can deliver.
"It should send a forceful political signal, to stand up for multilateralism, and respect international rules and principles," Zhao said. "COP 26 should further highlight the work on implementation, encourage targets and goals and transfer them into specific action, so they do not end up as empty slogans."
Zhao said that China, for its part, has expressed its real commitment to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss, through its 2030 and 2060 targets, as well as the "1 N" framework and the establishment of the Kunming Biodiversity Fund. China has placed an initial 1.5 billion yuan ($235 million) into the fund for the protection of biodiversity in developing nations.