BEIJING: China’s President Xi Jinping will bring no new concessions to the negotiating table when he attends key UN climate change talks in Paris next week, a senior Chinese diplomat said Thursday.
China pledged last year to peak carbon output by “around 2030” — suggesting at least another decade of growing emissions.
The Asian giant is estimated to have released nine to 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2013, nearly twice as much as the United States and around two and a half times the European Union figure.
World leaders will be in attendance in France “to lend political impetus” to the meeting but “are not there for negotiations,” Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin told a briefing.
“The Paris conference is not about tabling new proposals — it’s about narrowing differences and reaching agreement on the basis of the existing proposals,” he added.
Campaigners portrayed Beijing as a villain of a failed previous summit in Copenhagen, where its officials resisted carbon reduction targets.
Xi will be in Paris for the first day of the UN Conference of Parties (COP21) summit, which starts on Monday.
China is the world’s largest polluter and will be a key player at the meeting in the face of disputes over whether developed or developing countries should bear more of the burden for reducing emissions.
Liu called upon developed countries to do more by “increasing intensity of [their]actions before 2020.”
“The issue of climate change is the result of historical emissions by developed countries, and the responsibilities and obligations of developed and developing countries should be differentiated,” he added.
China’s transformative economic boom has mainly been fueled by coal, which provides most of its energy, and it plans to move 250 million more people from the countryside to cities in the next 10 years — creating more buildings and car users.