Cooperation, delivery crucial in tackling climate change, says head of Chinese delegation to COP26

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Photo taken on Nov. 9, 2021 shows a view at the ongoing 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow, Scotland, the United Kingdom. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese delegation to COP26 wants all parties to work together in the same direction to reach consensus on the issues at the heart of the conference and make sure it is a success, the head of the delegation has said.

Zhao Yingmin, vice minister of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, told Xinhua in an interview that the Chinese delegation has held close exchanges with other parties during the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

"We hope to contribute to the success of the conference through constructive communication and consultation," he said.

The two-week conference was scheduled to conclude on Friday, but is likely to extend into the weekend due to unresolved issues.

In particular, developed countries need to take seriously the concerns of developing countries over such core issues as finance and adaptation. They must also strive to deliver on promises made a long time ago, to enhance mutual trust and ensure the success of COP26, Zhao said.

Financial support has been the main issue of concern for developing countries.

During the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009, developed countries promised 100 billion U.S. dollars a year to help developing nations strengthen their resilience to climate change by 2020.

"Twelve years on, the developed countries have failed to honor their commitments, which has tremendously jeopardized political mutual trust," Zhao said.

It is "very unreasonable and unfair" that while developing countries have submitted ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), in line with the Paris Agreement, developed countries have failed to deliver financial support. This issue is also affecting the progress of COP26, Zhao said.

The issue of finance is one of the core issues of difficulty that affect the progress of COP26, Zhao said.

"The developed countries have not yet shown their sincerity and confidence in delivering their pledges. Therefore, both sides are still negotiating. It seems that more efforts are still needed."

Apart from finance, the main sticking points in the final phase of negotiations include temperature control targets, adaptation, and the rulebook of the Paris Agreement, Zhao said.

In order to effectively tackle the climate crisis, the parties need to "completely and comprehensively" deliver their promises according to the Paris Agreement, Zhao said. This must be done in line with the principle of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities as well as taking into account national conditions.

"We must realize that climate change has been an imminent challenge, but it must be addressed based on science and rules," Zhao said. These rules are specified in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. "Those are the cornerstones of global effort to tackle climate change, which should not be shaken. Otherwise, it would be hard to achieve our common goal."

On Wednesday, China and the United States released the China-U.S. Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s. It was the result of numerous meetings and consultations between the two sides, and was released at a key moment in the conference.

Zhao said the document had demonstrated cooperation between China and the United States, contributed to the global fight against climate change, and injected positive energy into the UN conference. It was also welcomed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who tweeted:

"I welcome today's agreement between China and the USA to work together to take more ambitious #ClimateAction in this decade. Tackling the climate crisis requires international collaboration and solidarity, and this is an important step in the right direction."

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