China’s role in the run up to COP21

imagesThis summer, China submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution, INDC, but what role will it play at the 21st Conference of the Parties, COP21?

New Future Energy Leader Peter Edwards met with Professor Zou Ji and Dr Fu Sha  based at China’s National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, NCSC, who advised on China’s INDC submission to find out more about the country’s plans  and China’s capacity to meet the 2⁰C climate goal.

Professor Zou Ji started by saying that it was not easy to compare China with other countries in the rest of the world because of its history and historical responsibility, its various development phases, and its different capacity and national circumstances.

Commenting on China’s ability to meet its INDC targets, he said: “We believe that China can achieve its INDC targets. We estimate that the peaking level in terms of per capita emission for China will be lower than the peaking level of most other industrialised countries.”

When asked about China achieving the 2⁰C climate goal, Dr. Fu Sha said: “According to our assessment we believe that with China’s INDC targets, there is the possibility that we can achieve the 2⁰C target, but it will be a long trajectory.  However, at the moment with current technologies and awareness policies we do not think that anyone can achieve the 2⁰C target, but with commitment it is possible.

“In China, we are focusing on not just a single year target, but the whole trajectory – we want to explore a new development path, which means that we will be prepared for a deeper de-carbonisation after 2030.”

Asked about what role China would play at the Paris COP21 talks, Professor Zou Ji was very definite in his response. He said: “It is an opportunity for China to be one of the leaders in the process of the UN negotiations. I am sure that China will actively play its role as the largest developing country to make Paris COP21 successful.

“To make our contribution, as the largest developing country, I have two words that people should remember – one is largest, the other one is developing. China has 1.3 billion people many of whom live in rural areas and are still poor. Certainly, we will try our best to create a new development path to achieve our INDC goals and lessen our emissions.”