Top Chinese official to co-chair Calif. climate summit

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2018

China’s top climate change negotiator will participate in California Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) global climate summit in September, state officials announced yesterday.

Xie Zhenhua, the former vice chairman of China’s top economic policymaking body, will serve as a co-chair of Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit, scheduled for Sept. 12-14 in San Francisco.

The conference is aimed at strengthening governments’ commitments to the 2015 Paris Agreement. Besides Xie, the event’s other co-chairs include Brown, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, and Anand Mahindra, chairman of the Indian business conglomerate Mahindra Group.

In a statement, Xie, who represented China at the Paris talks, said the summit would help coalesce governments’ commitments ahead of the next round of U.N. climate talks in Katowice, Poland, in December.

“2018 is a pivotal year for the climate change multilateral process,” he said. “During this important period, the Summit will help to mobilize the national, sub-national, business, and society actors to demonstrate their actions and determinations, which will not only advance the global climate governance process, but also push the global green and low-carbon transformations.”

A Columbia University report last week on China’s climate policies by former Energy Department official David Sandalow praised the country’s emissions policies, particularly its move away from coal-fired power, but noted that it — and all other countries — will need to do more to meet the Paris Agreement target of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius.

“There is no solution to climate change that doesn’t involve China,” he wrote. “As the world considers next steps under the Paris Agreement, the Chinese government’s positions and views will be key to shaping a global consensus.”