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Nation to play pivotal role in talks to carry out Paris pact, envoy says

Wang Yanfei
Updated: Nov 17,2016 9:26 AM     China Daily

China will act as facilitator to boost climate negotiations on implementing the Paris Agreement, regardless of the stance that the United States takes, the nation’s top climate representative said on Nov 15.

Xie Zhenhua, a veteran negotiator who led a team of more than 80 representatives from China, said on Nov 15 that China has positioned itself as an active promoter and will play a constructive part in negotiations aiming to turn the Paris pledges into actions.

The landmark climate agreement aims to limit the global temperature increase to less than 2 C and strive to hold it to 1.5 C.

“China will not change its goals submitted to the United Nations, as well as its approaches or stances to implement the Paris Agreement,” said Xie.

He was referring to China’s developing country status and its pledges in the climate pact to peak emissions around 2030 and transition to a green and sustainable development model.

“All the three will not be changed by other countries, including the United States,” he added.

Xie made the comment after Jonathan Pershing, the United States special envoy, said on Nov 14 in Marrakech that he did not know about the future of climate policy under Donald Trump’s presidency. He was responding to concerns about a possible US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

Xie said he was not surprised by the US response.

“The nation is undergoing a transition phase. Climate policy is not the only unknown faced by the United States,” said Xie.

“China will just keep moving on. We need to treasure efforts that we have made.”

Negotiators from nearly 200 parties to the agreement have gathered in Marrakech, Morocco, for the two-week United Nations Climate Conference from Nov 7 to Nov 18.

They are expected to come up with a text on road maps to implement the Paris Agreement by the end of Nov 18.

However, the election of Trump as the next president of the US, the world’s second-largest carbon emitter, overshadowed the climate talks.

Trump refused during his campaign to concede that climate change is caused by human activities.

Gou Hongbo, deputy chief of the Chinese delegation, said that China’s firm attitude to implement the Paris pact has injected some confidence into the difficult talks.

Gao Xiang, a negotiator with the Chinese delegation, said he was optimistic about the results of this year’s climate talks.

Negotiations on transparency rules, which are a fundamental issue in implementing the Paris Agreement, were conducted early this week, according to Gao.

“There is some good progress being made in this aspect,” he said. “We might have to leave some topics for next year, but the result will not be too bad.”