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Nations call for unity to curb climate change

Hou Liqiang
Updated: Apr 10,2021 07:00 AM    China Daily

Environmental ministers from Brazil, South Africa, India and China, known as BASIC countries, jointly called for multilateral cooperation in tackling climate change and urged developed countries to fulfill their financial commitment to developing nations in an online gathering that ended on April 8.

A joint declaration was adopted at the 30th BASIC Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change, sending a strong signal that developing countries are proactively taking on climate change with concerted efforts, according to a release from China's Ministry of Ecology and Environment on April 9.

During the two-day event, the BASIC countries held an in-depth discussion and reached extensive consensus over a series of issues, including the key expected outcomes of this year's United Nations Climate Change Conference — also known as COP26 — and the prospect of multilateralism and cooperation among the four nations, the release said.

Climate funding, a core concern of developing countries, is vital to helping them maintain political trust in the world's multilateral climate progress and to realizing the targets included in international conventions such as the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, said Xie Zhenhua, China's special climate envoy, who also attended the online meeting.

"The BASIC countries should proactively seek solutions to meet the developing nations' appeals for climate funding," he said. "Joining hands with other developing countries, we urge developed nations to make specific arrangements to address the gap in materializing their committed support made before 2020."

Xie also called on the BASIC countries to stick to multilateralism and stated various challenges that developing countries confront as they make joint efforts to obtain rights.

Developed countries were supposed to provide $100 billion annually to developing countries by last year to support their climate efforts, according to the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperature rise this century well below 2 C above preindustrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 C.

BASIC is an important cooperation mechanism in the climate change sector that actively speaks for developing countries in global climate negotiations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on April 9 at a daily briefing.

"Facing arduous tasks such as fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining sustainable economic and social development, developing countries including China have made utmost efforts to address the climate issue," he said.

At the BASIC Ministerial Meeting, Huang Runqiu, Chinese minister of ecology and environment, stressed the challenges that developing countries are facing in their endeavors to achieve climate targets despite the progress made.

Developing nations are in a more challenging situation since the Paris Agreement kicked off its full implementation phase last year to begin meeting its targets, he said.

By the end of last year, China's carbon intensity — carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP — had been reduced by 48.4 percent from the 2005 level, and the share of non-fossil fuels in its primary energy consumption had reached 15.9 percent, exceeding the target it set for the year, he said.

China aims to reach its carbon dioxide emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

Huang said arduous efforts are needed to make these goals a reality, considering the unbalanced and inadequate development in the country.