Responding to Climate Change Is a Shared Responsibility for the World



Jin Zhijian Chinese Ambassador to Iceland



4 May 2021



Climate change is a common challenge to all countries. In February this year, UN Secretary-General Guterres emphasized that 2021 would be a “critical year” for the international community to tackle climate change. Despite the fact that the world has done a lot in coping with such problem, we still remain far from reaching the goal set by the Paris Agreement. More efforts are needed in this regard by countries all over the world.



While upholding the Paris Agreement, China has made important contributions to adopting the agreement, and made active efforts toward implementing it. China has stayed committed to building a resource-saving and environment-friendly society, and written the development of ecological civilization into China’s constitution. Over the years, China has actively responded to climate change, firmly followed the development path of green and low carbon, and made great achievements in carbon emissions reduction, afforestation, desertification control, energy structure improvement, and so on.



By the end of 2019, China’s carbon intensity was about 48.1% lower than that of 2005, and the proportion of non-fossil energy in primary energy consumption rose to 15.3%. In the field of renewable energy, China ranks top worldwide in the amount of patents, investment, installed capacity and electric energy production for many years, and the installed capacity of wind power and photovoltaic in China has accounted for more than 30% of the world. At the same time, China has implemented large-scale afforestation, resulting in a significant increase in forest carbon sink. In 2018, China witnessed the increasing of forest area and forest stock by 45.09 million hectares and 5.104 billion cubic meters respectively compared with the level of 2005, becoming the one with the largest growth of global forest resources in the same period. In 2020, the volume of production of new energy vehicles in China was 1,366,000 and that of marketing hit 1,367,000, making China rank first worldwide for six consecutive years.



On September 22, 2020, China’s president Xi Jinping solemnly announced to the world at the general debate of the 75th UN General Assembly that China would scale up its nationally determined contributions and adopt more vigorous policies and measures, and that China aimed to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China pledged to achieve carbon peaking and carbon neutrality within a far shorter period of time than developed countries. China is set to make strenuous efforts to realize these goals.



At the Climate Ambition Summit on December 12, 2020, President Xi Jinping announced China’s more specific emission reduction goals as follows: By 2030, China will lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65% from the 2005 level, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 %, increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters from the 2005 level, and bring its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts.



On April 22 this year, when attending the Leaders Summit on Climate hosted by the United States, President Xi Jinping elaborated on the multiple dimensions and core essences of the concept of “a community of life for man and Nature” for the first time, and put forward China’s proposals for strengthening global environmental governance.



These measures show that China will unswervingly follow the green and low-carbon development path, be determined to respond to global climate change, and take the responsibility to promote the building of a community with shared future for mankind. They have strongly boosted global confidence in coping with climate change, and provided powerful assistance for global climate governance. At present, China is preparing a specific plan to honor the above commitments, making practical efforts to achieve our goal in dealing with climate change, and making positive contributions to promoting global sustainable development.



Moreover, China participates in close cooperation with other countries, international organizations and institutions, playing a positive role in promoting international cooperation in tackling climate change. As COVID-19 is raging the world, it is urgent for us to solve climate change. The international community should actively fulfill its political commitment, put multilateralism to action, strengthen unity and cooperation, adhere to the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities”, jointly show political will and action, further promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement, build a fair and effective global climate governance system, and take practical actions to better respond to the challenge brought by the climate change.



China and Iceland share common interests in dealing with climate change. We have fruitful outcomes in cooperation in fields like geothermal and carbon cycle. Our two countries can further strengthen cooperation in fully and effectively implementing the Paris Agreement, facilitating the building of a fair, reasonable and win-win climate governance system, and achieving the “green recovery” of the world economy after the epidemic. Besides, we can work hard to deepen the information exchange and cooperation between our environmental protection departments, actively explore the possibility of cooperation in fields such as electric vehicles, wind energy and hydropower, and make due contributions to protecting our shared planet.