Help offered to combat climate change

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Workers install solar panels at a photovoltaic power station in Weining, Guizhou province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China is participating in South-South cooperation voluntarily as part of its effort to address climate change, not out of historical responsibility or the obligations of international treaties, said a senior official of an international organization for the developing world.

Developed countries have far more responsibility to lead and provide the money and technology needed for developing countries, said Meenakshi Raman, coordinator of the climate change program of the Third World Network. Raman spoke on the sidelines of the ongoing 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP 24, in Katowice, Poland.

"China is playing a leadership role ... in a world where you have the largest per capita carbon emitter, the United States, walking out of the Paris agreement," she said on Wednesday.

China has been promoting South-South cooperation in curbing climate change, Raman said. "China does this not because of its historic responsibility or because it has any obligation under the Convention on Climate Change or the Paris agreement, but it does it voluntarily," she said.

There is much the developing world could learn from China, which leads in renewable energy, she said.

"There are many things that we can learn. And in fact, it's very important, through South-South cooperation, that developing countries share with each other," she said. "The responsibility to address the common problem must be differentiated between developed and developing countries. Those with the largest historical responsibility and largest historical emissions have far more responsibility to take leadership."

"Well-developed countries are basically going back on their commitments. I use the term commitments because these are legal obligations," she said, explaining that the Climate Change Convention makes it an obligation of developed countries to provide financial support.

Developed countries pledged, in COP 15 in 2009, $30 billion for a Fast Start fund from 2010 to 2012, with an increase in aid to $100 billion per year by 2020.

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