SCIO briefing on China's Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change (2018)

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Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative on Climate Change

Li Gao, Director-General of Climate Change in the Ministry of Ecology and Environment

Xi Yanchun, spokeswoman of the State Council Information Office

Nov. 26, 2018

Guangming Daily:

How will China push forward with its efforts to address climate change after the government institutional reform? What will be the focus? Thank you.

Xie Zhenhua:

Mr. Li has first-hand knowledge, since he was transferred from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. I'll give the floor to him.

Li Gao:

In this round of government institutional reform, the function of addressing climate change was transferred to the newly-established Ministry of Ecology and Environment. This is a major institutional arrangement made by the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to address climate change and prevent and control pollution in a more coordinated way, as well as pursue ecological and environmental protection more holistically. We will advance China's efforts to address climate change under new circumstances. President Xi Jinping delivered an important speech at a national conference on environmental protection in May, which Mr. Xie also mentioned just now. We will ensure the full implementation of the requirements made by President Xi. Addressing climate change, which involves various fields, is beyond the capabilities of one single institution. This function was transferred from the NDRC to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. But it does not mean that all the duties for addressing climate change were or are assumed by the NDRC or the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. The structure of the national leading group on climate change can serve to illustrate the point. Headed by the Chinese premier, the group has members from almost all the institutions. It enables all the institutions to perform their duties and play their roles in a more coordinated way, thus enhancing the effect of related policies.

We have an important task recently to establish a new departmental coordination mechanism under the leadership of the leading group to further coordinate the work between the departments. Through long-term practice, China has formed a working pattern in the field of addressing climate change: the leading group exercises unified leadership over the work, the competent department of climate change (now the Ministry of Ecology and Environment) is responsible for the coordination, all the relevant departments cooperate and support each other, and local departments and various industries fully participate in the field of addressing climate change. Next, we will make such a work pattern play a better role. In addition to maintaining the coordination mechanism at the departmental level, we also need to promote the establishment of provincial-level leading groups and related coordination mechanisms to give impetus to local work, in accordance with the requirements of the State Council after the transfer of local institutions has been completed.

I mentioned earlier that under the new situation it is important to integrate and synergize the work of tackling climate change with environmental pollution prevention and treatment and ecological protection. So next, we will accordingly focus on the better coordination and synergy in addressing climate change and ecological environment protection. In the future, from monitoring to target setting, policy and plan formulating, then to related supervision and implementation in tackling climate change, we should better coordinate our work with environmental pollution control and ecological protection. China has set a medium and long-term goal in addressing climate change, and there is a very practical supervision and implementation mechanism in the field of ecological environment protection. Therefore, how to use such a good mechanism to serve the national goals will be the next focus for the Ministry of Ecology and Environment in addressing climate change.

Of course, tackling climate change involves both international and domestic aspects. At the international level, Xie Zhenhua, special representative for climate change affairs of China, has just introduced that we will continue to work with all parties in a positive and constructive manner to foster a global governance system that is fair, reasonable, and focused on win-win cooperation, unswervingly promote the multilateral system for addressing climate change, and unswervingly promote the full and effective implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)and the Paris Agreement. This year's negotiations are very important. We will spare no effort in working with all parties to ensure advances in the development of the Paris Agreement implementation rules, so as to lay a good institutional foundation for post-2020 global cooperation in tackling climate change. We will also demonstrate the effectiveness of the multilateral system in addressing the challenges of global climate change through such an outcome.

There are also some other tasks. Since we have put forward the nationally determined action objectives on climate change by 2020 and 2030, we will advance implementation of our enhanced actions and promote some key areas and industries to independently roll out their own plans and roadmaps in view of nationally determined contributions and exert more efforts to ensure achieving the national targets . At the same time, we should take into account the specific conditions beyond 2030, the actual conditions of our national development, the needs to address climate change, and the two-stage development plan for building China into a great modern socialist country put forward at the Nineteenth National Congress of the Communist Party of China, so as to further determine the long-term objectives and tasks of tackling climate change. These are all very important tasks for us in the next stage.

In addition, there is another very important task in the field of climate change. Just now, I have answered the reporter's question on it, that is, to speed up the construction of the national carbon emission trading market. Thank you.

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