The complete phasing-out of fossil fuels is not realistic, China’s top climate official said on Thursday, adding that such fuels must continue to play a vital role in maintaining global energy security.
Chinese Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua (解振華) was responding to comments by ambassadors at a forum in Beijing ahead of the UN’s COP28 climate meeting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in November.
Reporters obtained a copy of text of Xie’s speech and a video recording of the meeting.
Countries are under pressure to make more ambitious climate pledges after a UN-led global “stocktake” said that 20 gigatonnes of additional carbon dioxide reductions would be needed this decade alone to keep temperatures from exceeding the threshold of 1.5°C.
The stocktake is expected to be at the center of discussions at the COP28 meeting, with campaigners hoping it will create the political will to set clear targets to end coal and oil use.
However, Xie said that the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources and the immaturity of key technologies such as energy storage mean the world must continue to rely on fossil fuels to safeguard economic growth.
“It is unrealistic to completely phase out fossil fuel energy,” said Xie, who would represent China at COP28.
At climate talks in Glasgow in 2021, China led efforts to change the language of the final agreement from “phasing out” to “phasing down” fossil fuels.
China also supports a bigger role for abatement technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
While ending fossil fuel use is not on the agenda at COP28, Xie said that China was open to setting a global renewable energy target as long as it took the economic conditions of countries into account.
He also said he welcomed pledges made to him by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry that a US$100 billion annual fund to help developing countries adapt to climate change would soon be made available, adding that it was “only a drop in the bucket.”
China and the US, the world’s two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, resumed top-level climate talks in July after a hiatus following a visit by then-US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
China has rejected US attempts to treat climate change as a diplomatic “oasis” that can be separated from the broader geopolitical tensions between the two sides, with US trade sanctions on Chinese solar panels still a sore point.
Xie said that protectionism could drive up the price of solar panels by 20 to 25 percent and hold back the energy transition, and called on countries not to “politicize” cooperation in new energy.
He also reiterated China’s opposition to the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which would impose carbon tariffs on imports from China and elsewhere.
JUMPING BAIL: The democracy advocate said made the decision after ‘considering the situation in Hong Kong, my personal safety, my physical and mental health’ Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow (周庭), who was jailed over her role in massive 2019 protests, on Sunday said she had moved to Canada and would not return to meet her bail conditions. Chow was one of the best-known young faces of the 2012, 2014 and 2019 protest movements against Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule in Hong Kong. She spent about seven months behind bars for her role in a protest outside Hong Kong police headquarters in 2019, when huge crowds rallied week after week in the most serious challenge to China’s rule since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover. On Sunday
TAKING STOCK: It was not yet clear how damaging the espionage, dating to 1981, has been, as authorities are still assessing the situation, the State Department said A former US ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested and charged with spying for Cuba over a 40-year span, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday, detailing a shock betrayal by a suspect who called the US “the enemy.” US Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the allegations against Victor Manuel Rocha, a onetime member of the White House’s National Security Council now accused of using his positions within the government to support Cuba’s “clandestine intelligence-gathering mission” against the US. The charges against Rocha, 73, expose “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign
DARK WARNINGS: If Trump survives his court trials, neither the Supreme Court nor the US Constitution could stop him from becoming president for life, a ‘Post’ column said Former US president Donald Trump on Tuesday declined to rule out abusing power if he returns to the White House after Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him to respond to growing criticism of his rhetoric. The Republican presidential front-runner has talked about targeting his rivals — referring to them as “vermin” — and vowed to seek retribution if he wins a second term for what he argues are politically motivated prosecutions against him. As Trump has dominated the Republican presidential primary, US President Joe Biden has stepped up his own warnings, contending that Trump is “determined to destroy American democracy.” “Under no
Seventeen people died and 11 were injured when a passenger bus careered off a road on a “killer curve” and plunged down a mountain in the central Philippines, officials said yesterday. The bus was traveling in Hamtic municipality in Antique province when the crash happened on Tuesday afternoon, Antique Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head Roderick Train said. Seven people were in critical condition in a hospital and four others were stable, Train said, describing the section of road as “accident prone.” One Kenyan national was among those killed, and a second Kenyan was among those critically injured. The bus, which came from