China will stop funding overseas coal projects, President Xi Jinping announced on Tuesday, all in addition to ending the flow of public aid for dirty energy that contributes to the climate crisis.
Xi made his announcement at the UN General Assembly where US President Joe Biden, seeking to show leadership in a growing competition with China, vowed to double Washington’s contribution to countries hardest hit by climate change.
China is still investing in coal, reducing the impact of Xi’s engagement, but is by far the largest financier of coal projects in developing countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh, as a global infrastructure hit with belt and road continues. her.
Xi vowed to accelerate efforts to make China, the world ‘s largest emitter, carbon neutral by 2060.
“This requires tremendous hard work and we will make every effort to achieve these goals,” Xi said in a recorded speech.
“China will increase support for other developing countries in developing green and low carbon energy and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” he said.
China’s announcement comes after similar moves by South Korea and Japan, the only other nations to provide significant funding for coal projects.
The climate protection movement 350.org called Xi’s announcement “big,” saying it could be a “real game changer” depending on when it takes effect.
Helen Mountford, vice president for climate and economics at the Institute of World Resources, said it was “a historic turning point away from the world’s most polluted fossil fuel”.
“China’s promise shows that the fire of public funding for coal is being extinguished,” she said.
But she said private investors had to make similar commitments. And she noted that China itself is still growing coal, an industry with political influence in Asian power, as is the United States.
During a visit to China earlier this month, US climate envoy John Kerry said the addition of more coal plants “represents a significant challenge to the world’s efforts to deal with the climate crisis.”
China put into operation 38.4 gigawatts of new coal-fired power last year — more than three times what was brought to the line globally.
Non-governmental groups in a letter earlier this year said the State Bank of China was the largest financier of coal projects, pumping $ 35 billion since the signing of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
– Biden promises more help –
China’s promise comes as momentum rises ahead of a UN conference in Glasgow in November aimed at raising the ambitions of the Paris agreement.
Support for stocks has risen with the planet breaking the record after high temperatures and witnessing devastating severe weather associated with climate change including fires, major storms and floods.
A key part of the Paris deal that remains is the mobilization of $ 100 billion a year promised to the nations hardest hit by global warming.
Biden, who has put the environment on his agenda after defeating his climate-skeptical predecessor, Donald Trump, said the United States would double its contribution.
“This will make the United States a leader in public climate finance,” Biden said.
Experts said the announcement would bring the US contribution to approximately $ 11.4 billion a year.
British lawmaker Alok Sharma, who will chair the so-called COP26 conference in Glasgow, welcomed Biden’s announcement and said: “We need to build on this momentum.”
Currently, two-thirds of funding is for mitigating and mitigating climate change — rather than adapting to current and expected future changes, such as sea level rise, more intense extreme weather events, or food insecurity.
In another climate announcement at the General Assembly, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would formally ratify the Paris Agreement, which it had previously signed.
Developments constitute rare pieces of good news on the climate front following a series of high-level scientific reports that paint a bleak picture of the future as the world’s leading pollutants continue to emit greenhouse gases at alarming rates.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “encouraged” by the “important” announcements of the US and China, but warned that much more needed to be done to address climate change.
Last week, Guterres warned that the world was on a “catastrophic” path to warming to 2.7 degrees Celsius, according to a new study by UN scientists.
The figure will break the temperature targets of the Paris climate agreement, which aimed to heat below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably be covered at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
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