Sat, 09 Dec 2023

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China is expected to play a key role in fast-tracking an equitable and orderly energy transition, fixing climate finance, and focusing on people's lives and livelihoods.

by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

This year is expected to be a turning point in the fight against climate change. As the world is preparing for a pathbreaking 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, the key role of China will be crucial in ensuring its success.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) released the Global Stocktake, an analysis of the world's progress at the halfway point between the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 and 2030.

The report finds that the world is far off-track from reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement and across all pillars of climate action: mitigation, adaptation, and means of implementation.

As the presidency and host nation of COP28, the UAE has assumed this role with humility and a deep sense of responsibility. As president-designate of COP28, I have outlined an action agenda aimed at getting us back on course, one that aims at fast-tracking an equitable and orderly energy transition, fixing climate finance, and focusing on people's lives and livelihoods, while underpinning everything with full inclusivity.

China is expected to play a key role in making this agenda a reality. Over the years, the UAE and China have established a strong and vibrant strategic relationship that spans economic, social, and environmental dimensions.

We know firsthand China's tremendous capacity to deliver transformational change. It has raised nearly 800 million people out of poverty in just over 30 years. As the world's largest renewable energy market, the country continues supporting the global energy transition through its renewable energy supply chains.

The Global Energy Monitor noted earlier this year that China will meet its 2030 target of doubling its solar and wind capacity to 1,200 gigawatts five years in advance. China has also been committed to investing more than 350 billion U.S. dollars over four years in smart grids, which enhance efficiencies and work even better with renewables.

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The achievement is one of the inspirations for my statement earlier this year that we cannot phase down fossil fuels without scaling up renewables. That's why I call for a tripling of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

China's progress is consistent with the vision first articulated by President Xi Jinping more than five years ago when he put forward the concept of ecological civilization.

We are inviting Chinese businesses to bring the largest-ever private sector delegation to COP28, during which we aim to showcase the country's achievements and explore how we can partner in driving low-carbon growth.

China is well placed to play an important role in two critical aspects of adaptation. With its rapid advances in the health sector, China can help drive progress on the climate/health nexus, as health systems are increasingly burdened by climate change.

As the world's largest food producer and a leader in agricultural technology, China can help deliver sustainable food systems for the future.

In the real world, nothing happens without finance and the Global South is especially in need. Accessible, available, and affordable financing is required to prioritize building sustainable, resilient infrastructure that better protects people, lives, and livelihoods, as well as help the developing world meet its emission reduction targets.

In the context of the Belt and Road Initiative, we believe China can be a key partner in driving clean energy adoption across the Global South.

With new financing initiatives, such as the New Development Bank, China is positioned to scale additional South-South cooperation in a way that unleashes sustainable development gains.

I will be visiting China in the coming days to discuss how we can jointly ensure the success of COP28. We have all the ingredients required to move climate action into a new era of green and sustainable growth, promote the concept of ecological civilization, and restore hope, trust, and solidarity for the international community.

Editor's note: Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber is COP28 president-designate and the UAE minister of industry and advanced technology.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Xinhua News Agency.

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