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Chinese envoy urges curbing global warming to contain sea-level rise

Updated: February 15, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese envoy on Tuesday called on the international community to take all necessary actions to rigorously slow down global warming and contain the trend of rapid sea-level rise.

Noting that climate change is the root cause of sea-level rise, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, urged the international community to adopt a greater sense of urgency without delay, seize the opportunity to take all necessary actions, and prevent climate change from causing irreversible catastrophes to humanity.

"To achieve the temperature cap set out in the Paris Agreement, developed countries must take the lead in further reducing emissions," Zhang told a Security Council debate on "Sea-level Rise: Implications for International Peace and Security."

However, he said that since last year, there has been a backtrack in the energy policy of some developed countries and an increase rather than decrease in their fossil fuel consumption and carbon emissions, which makes the already elusive global emissions reduction prospect even more precarious.

Most developed countries set forth their carbon peaking and carbon neutrality targets and programs relatively early. They should set an example by taking concrete actions for their implementation, Zhang said.

He added that developed countries are also obliged and responsible for providing climate change financing and assistance to developing countries.

As early as 2009, developed countries pledged 100 billion U.S. dollars annually to developing countries, which has yet to be truly delivered up to date.

Worse still, certain country, while passively responding to the funding needs of developing countries, invests hundreds of billions of dollars in hefty subsidies to its domestic manufacturing industry through the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, purportedly to promote its energy transition, Zhang said.

"Such hypocritical and self-serving, green protectionism violates WTO rules, discriminates against relevant industries in other countries, and undermines the collective efforts to tackle climate change globally," he said.

The envoy also underscored the importance of sticking to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities which bears on international equity and justice, saying that "deviation from this principle will severely damage the unity and cooperation of the international community to tackle climate change."

The international community should effectively address the concerns and needs of small island developing states that are most exposed to climate shocks but the least adaptable, and help them with capacity building through financial and technical assistance, build up their climate resilience, and achieve green and low-carbon development, Zhang said.

He pointed to the discharge of nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant as "a pressing challenge," which will seriously damage the marine environment and people's health, with small island developing states and their people bearing the brunt.

"China urges Japan to fulfill its international obligations, dispose of the nuclear-contaminated water in a science-based, open, transparent, and safe manner, and effectively protect the marine environment and ecosystem," Zhang said.

China, as a country with a long coastline, also pays great attention to the risks from sea-level rise. In the face of climate change, China has always been steadfastly action-oriented with no efforts spared once a commitment is made, and always advocates and engages in South-South cooperation on climate change, said the envoy.

"China will continue to work with all parties to actively participate in global climate governance and tackle the climate change challenge," Zhang said. 

Editor: Yang Yifan