Climate change is a global challenge which should not be politicized and which calls for international collaboration, said the head of China’s largest environmental institute, noting that to meet the country’s carbon targets, scientific innovation will be faced with to challenges with more effort and cost.
China’s carbon targets have boosted global confidence in the fight against climate change, but there are still factions and Western media that portray China’s efforts as a distraction from other issues.
In a recent exclusive interview, Li Haisheng, president of the Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences Research, told the Global Times that “the practice of politicizing the climate issue is not conducive to global climate cooperation. “.
He believes that such views do not represent the views of the general public and Western governments. “Climate change is a global challenge that requires all countries to work together and address it on a common but differentiated principle,” said Li, also former director of the international cooperation department at China’s Ministry of Ecology and of the Environment (MEE).
Li believes that the voices are the “growing pains” of China’s development. “We need to maintain our strategic resolve and focus steadily on our own work. Ultimately the world will give us a fair assessment.”
In the process of tackling climate change, developing countries should seek a different path from that taken by developed countries.
Li went further by talking about global greenhouse gas emissions in history.
Developed countries first enjoyed rapid development, then sought to treat and transfer pollution after ecosystem destruction and environmental pollution, while developing countries could not take over industries. polluting only to get out of poverty, Li said.
But the whole world has a common future for all life on earth. He quoted Friedrich Engels as saying: “However, let us not be too flattering because of our human victories over nature. For each of these victories, nature takes revenge on us.
The modernization process in most member states of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has followed the path of “pollution, manage, then transfer”. But times have changed. China and other developing countries like India can no longer follow this model.
Peak carbon and carbon neutrality are not just about reducing emissions and the environment. Carbon credits imply a right to development, which contains major opportunities and China’s strategic consideration for green development, Li said.
To achieve peak carbon and carbon neutrality, the pressure China faces is far greater than that of the 38 OECD countries combined.
China has a population of 1.4 billion, which is equivalent to the population of 38 OECD countries; however, China’s current per capita GDP is lower than that of a third of OECD countries, Li said.
The pressure comes from continued industrialization and urbanization, as well as uneven regional development. Energy security, food security, ecology and economic security, as well as social development should also be comprehensively considered in the process, he noted.
OECD countries started to reach carbon peaks once they reached the development stage, while China has just achieved “have-not” status in the industrialization process and has not. not yet reached carbon peaks. In addition, China is only 30 years between peak carbon and carbon neutrality, the shortest in the world.
China said during the general debate at the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly that the country aims to peak in CO2 emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
“In this context, China’s peak carbon and carbon neutrality require more effort and cost than developed countries,” Li said. “It also requires scientific and technological innovation to promote a“ green revolution ” in the concepts of energy, industry and governance. “
China’s environmental protection strategy will shift from ultra-low-emission transformation to the development of new energy sources and the use of non-fossil energy; pollution control will pay more attention to source control, governance of the whole process and control of new pollutants.
In terms of government management, the work of legalization to deal with climate change should be accelerated. Emissions reduction should be included in the official rating system in local regions, along with GDP and other items.
Li also called for exchanges and cooperation in the field of environmental technologies. “Developed countries should show their responsibilities in sharing low carbon technologies and provide financial and technical support to developing countries, while developing countries should accept the support with a more positive and open attitude. Science knows no country. technology that fights climate change.
China has also helped other developing countries tackle climate change through the Green Belt and Road Initiative by creating platforms, helping build infrastructure and retaining talent.
Speaking about cooperation between China and the United States on climate issues, Li urged the two great powers to build a “Noah’s ark” in the face of climate change.
China and the United States have conducted fruitful cooperation in response to climate change, of which the joint US-China climate crisis statement released in April is the most recent achievement. “Cooperation in the region will bring more positive signs to Sino-US relations,” Li said.
The Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences Research, established in 1978, carries out scientific and international cooperation activities that support the country’s overall environmental protection goals. It has 15 research departments, two key state laboratories and nine ministerial laboratories, focusing on atmosphere, water, soil and solid waste, ecology, cleaner production, vehicle emission control , environmental engineering, environmental safety and environmental standards.