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China pledges to ratify Paris climate deal by September
April 23, 2016, 5:10 am

Zhang Gaoli, Chinese vice premier and special envoy of President Xi Jinping, signs the Paris Agreement on climate change as he attends the High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York April 22, 2016 [Xinhua]

Zhang Gaoli, Chinese vice premier and special envoy of President Xi Jinping, signs the Paris Agreement on climate change as he attends the High-Level Event for the Signature of the Paris Agreement at the United Nations headquarters in New York April 22, 2016 [Xinhua]

China announced at the UN headquarters on Friday that it will finalize domestic legal procedures to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change before the G20 Hangzhou summit in September.

The announcement was made by Chinese envoy Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli during a high-level signing ceremony of the landmark pact at the UN headquarters, with a record 175 countries inking the international accord.

“The Chinese people honor our commitments. We will make early accession to the Paris agreement. China will finalize domestic legal procedures on its accession before the G20 Hangzhou summit in September this year,” Gaoli told a signing ceremony for the Paris deal at the United Nations.

Climate negotiators of 196 parties adopted the accord at climate change talks in Paris, France, on Dec. 12, 2015.

The agreement can enter into force 30 days after at least 55 parties that account for at least 55 per cent of global emissions ratify the pact through their national legislature.

The Paris pact, which sets a target of limiting global warming by 2100 to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by curbing greenhouse gas emissions, will not be a fully legally binding treaty.

At the ceremony, Zhang said China will take effective actions at home to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

“We will launch a national emission trade market, substantially increase forest carbon sink. We will put in place a strict accountability system for environmental protection and ensure the implementation of all targets,” the presidential envoy said.

In its 13th Five-Year Plan, China pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 18 per cent over the next five years, he said.

“We will control both the total energy consumption and carbon intensity,” Zhang said.

He also stressed the importance of international cooperation on the fight against climate change. “China will take an active part in the follow-up negotiations of the Paris Agreement.”

Meanwhile, new cooperation projects have been launched this year to help strengthen the climate financing capacity of other developing countries, he added.

China and the US together account for 38 per cent of global emissions.

Global charity Oxfam, however, warned “there is still much unfinished business left from Paris”.

“The agreement also does not ensure adequate funding so that millions of vulnerable people can prepare for and respond to increasing climate chaos. Climate adaptation costs will hit up over $500 billion per year by 2050, even if global temperatures are limited to 2°C,” an Oxfam statement said on Friday.

 

TBP and Agencies

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