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Biodiversity & Environment

China’s Renewed Support for Paris Agreement

  • 24 Sep 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, China has renewed its support for the Paris Agreement at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, while calling for a ‘green focus’ as the world recovers from the Covid-19 crisis.

Key Points

  • China is the world's biggest polluter and accounts for a quarter of the planet's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • It now aims to reach carbon-dioxide emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
    • The 2060 objective is still a decade later than the date set by other small states as well as European powers but it has been appreciated by experts as a significant step to inject momentum into the Paris accord.
  • In addition to its embrace of global emissions-busting deals, China already feeds nearly 15% of its energy demands with non-fossil fuels and its installation of renewable energy stands at 30% of the world total.
  • However, global experts have highlighted that there are massive investments continuing within China and overseas in coal and other fossil fuels.
    • China currently has 135 gigawatts of coal-power capacity either permitted or under construction, according to Global Energy Monitor, a San Francisco-based environmental group.
    • This equates to about half the total coal-power capacity in the USA which is the second-largest polluter after China.
  • Against the USA:
    • China highlighted USA’s demand for plastics and export of waste and criticised it for “obstructing” the global fight against emissions.
    • This move has opened a new divergence in US-China relations which are already troubled over issues like trade, technology, defence and human rights.

Paris Agreement

  • Paris Agreement (also known as the Conference of Parties 21 or COP 21) is a landmark environmental accord that was adopted in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts.
    • It replaced the Kyoto Protocol which was an earlier agreement to deal with climate change.
  • Aims: To reduce global GHG emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5°C by 2100.
  • It includes:
    • Addressing the financial losses vulnerable countries face from climate impacts such as extreme weather.
    • Raising money to help developing countries adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy.
    • This part of the deal has been made non-legally binding on developed countries.
  • Before the conference started, more than 180 countries had submitted pledges to cut their carbon emissions (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs).

Source: TH

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