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A Joint Response to Climate Change
A Better Environment for Our Planet

2019/09/24

Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi
Special Representative of President Xi Jinping,
State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs
At the UN Climate Action Summit

UN Headquarters, 23 September 2019

Your Excellency Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

China highly commends and supports the Secretary-General's initiative for convening this Summit.

Climate change is a common challenge to all countries. To jointly tackle this challenge and protect the planet we all call home will be a journey critical to the future and destiny of humankind.

As global climate governance enters a crucial stage, the international community must stick to the right approach, that is, making a joint response to climate change with unwavering commitment and unrelenting efforts. In tackling climate change, we must:

- First, be determined to win the fight. We must honor our commitments, follow through on the Paris Agreement and its implementation guidelines, and see to it that both this Summit and the COP25 produce positive outcomes that will inject fresh impetus into the post-2020 multilateral process. The withdrawal of certain parties will not shake the collective will of the international community, nor will it possibly reverse the historical trend of international cooperation.

- Second, be prepared to take sustained actions. A response to climate change does not have to be made at the expense of development. We must make sure that our climate actions are mutually reinforcing with our socio-economic endeavors, realize a transformation toward green and low-carbon development and enhance climate resilience in the process of accelerating development. We must mobilize stakeholders and resources across all sectors to scale up pre-2020 to avoid passing on the responsibilities to the post-2020 process.

- Third, be committed to cooperation. The joint fight against climate change requires us to uphold multilateralism and explore solutions within the framework of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. In particular, it is important that we follow the principles of "common but differentiated responsibilities", equity and respective capabilities, respect the need for development and the special conditions of developing countries, and help them build preparedness. Developed countries, on their part, need to take the lead in reducing emissions and honor their commitment of mobilizing US$100 billion a year in climate finance by 2020.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a responsible member of the international community, China honors its words and keeps taking actions on climate change.

Guided by a philosophy of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, China is pursuing high-quality growth and following a path of green, low-carbon and sustainable development. In 2018, China's CO2 emissions per unit of GDP dropped by 45.8 percent from the 2005 level, or a reduction of around 5.26 billion tons of CO2 emissions, exceeding the target set for the year; the share of non-fossil fuel in primary energy consumption reached 14.3 percent; forest stock increased by 4.56 billion cubic meters from 2005, as a result of new afforestation in China since 2000, which accounts for 25 percent of the global total; and a total of 1.25 million electric vehicles were sold in China, far more than in any other country. A national emission trading system has been introduced, and the development of a national emission trading market is well underway. Such efforts have proved helpful to controlling greenhouse gas emissions and upgrading the industrial structure.

China will faithfully fulfill our obligations under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, and realize as scheduled its nationally determined contribution targets submitted to the UNFCCC secretariat.

We will continue to promote joint building of a green Belt and Road. We are implementing the Belt and Road South-South Cooperation Initiative on Climate Change, and mobilizing stronger support for international cooperation against climate change through the BRI International Green Development Coalition and other platforms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) is one of the nine action tracks of this Summit. China is honored to co-lead this track with New Zealand at the invitation of the Secretary-General. Through collaborating with many other countries and international organizations in this area, we gained fruitful results in the following aspects.

First, a deeper insight into the relations between man and nature. Human beings and nature are inseparable. We need to respect, adapt to, and protect nature. NBS advocates the harmonious co-existence between man and nature, values ecological progress, and incorporates the sustainable use of natural resources into climate policies and action frameworks, thus leveraging the role of nature to the fullest extent possible in enhancing the effectiveness of climate actions.

Second, new measures for the global fight against climate change. We have proposed over 150 initiatives in such areas as forestry, agriculture, ocean, water resources, and the systemic role of nature, and set up a Group of Friends for NBS mechanism for follow-ups to keep up the momentum of international cooperation in these areas. Our goal is to achieve nature's mitigation potential of cutting 10 to 12 gigatons of CO2 per year.

Third, fresh support for the Sustainable Development Goals. The Chinese often say that green is as precious as gold. In other words, a better environment can bring about greater productivity. We have collected over 30 best practices in forest carbon sink, bio-diversity protection, and desertification prevention and treatment to demonstrate how NBS can significantly promote coordinated economic, social and environmental development. I believe that those best practices will provide useful references for countries to better implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Long and difficult as the journey of tackling climate change is, sustained actions will take us to the destination. No matter how the international landscape may evolve, there will be no change in China's efforts to fight climate change, its readiness to deepen climate cooperation with other countries, or its commitment to the multilateral process on climate change. I am convinced that by working together as one and in the same direction, we will build a clean and beautiful world where we enjoy shared prosperity and shared future.

Thank you.

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