(Yicai Global) Nov. 15 -- The 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) opened in Bonn, Germany last week. The Chinese delegation put forward three aims at the forum, head delegate and China's top climate official, Xie Zhenhua, told Yicai Global in an interview.
Only by incorporating pre-2020 actions into the general agenda can the conference convince the international community that the multilateral mechanism is effective, he said. "It's important to talk about the future, [but] it's more important to [let them know] what actions have already been taken."
The three results China hopes to achieve from the meeting are: drafting detailed rules for the implementation of the Paris Convention; setting up a framework and procedural arrangements for facilitative dialogues in 2018; and participating nations delivering a report of the actions they pledge to take by 2020, which will enable the convention to inspect countries and urge them to honor their commitments, Xie added.
Detailed Implantation Rules for the Paris Convention
The meeting should make preparations and lay the groundwork for the conclusion of the implementation rules next year, Xie said. It should produce a balanced and actionable draft for next year's conference that reflects the demands of all parties. This way, the nations can settle differences between them and aim to complete negotiations on the implementation rules next year.
The main issue currently being discussed, he noted, is whether or not the detailed rules should uphold the original principle, that is, if the purpose is only to mitigate climate change, and whether all the key elements, such as adaptation, funding, capacity building and transparency, should be included in the draft.
The Paris Convention expressly states that the implementation rules must include mitigation, adaptation, funding, capacity building and transparency considerations to thoroughly reflect contributions made by individual nations.
All participating countries should begin facilitative dialogues next year to discuss actions they have taken in the past to tackle climate change and their targets for future contributions, per the convention.
Discussions at COP23 focus on the dialogue framework, principles and procedural arrangements, Xie explained, stressing that "they are dialogues, not negotiations by any means."
The dialogues should be facilitative and create a favorable atmosphere in which the countries understand, support and encourage each other to take action against climate change, thereby laying a solid foundation for dialogues next year, he said.
Developed Economies Should Submit Pre-2020 Action Plans
During the Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011, developing countries proposed that arrangements should be made with respect to anti-climate change plans after 2020, and measures implemented before then should also be subject to scrutiny. "During the Bonn conference, the countries must elaborate on their efforts prior to 2020 to deliver on anti-climate change commitments; how much they've done, and which objectives have not been fulfilled," Xie insisted.
"Thus far, the talks have focused on the formulation of the detailed implementation rules and post-2020 dialogues. The meeting's agenda should include reports by participating countries on the actions they have done and will do by 2020. In other words, the nations should exchange ideas about their commitments and actions to combat climate change before then, which will allow them to understand progress in the Doha Amendment," he added, noting that the international community should have a clear understanding as to which countries have endorsed the amendment and how far the countries have come in terms of reducing emissions.
Developed economies should take the lead in emissions reduction before 2020. They pledged to offer USD100 billion every year to support developing nations, but have they delivered on this promise? How much has actually been provided? Developed countries should draw up specific timelines and roadmaps for future actions, which will convince the public that the multilateral mechanism is effective and all countries are taking it seriously, Xie said.
China Hopes to See US Rejoin Paris Convention
China hopes the US will return to the Paris Convention, Xie said at a press briefing held by the State Council Information Office on Oct. 31, before COP23.
The US announced it will pull out from the convention but participants cannot leave within the first four years, so America will continue to take part in the talks. "There is still uncertainty, we don't know for sure that the US will drop out in the end. We can't predict this," Xie said.
The US State Department said in a statement on Aug. 4 that it had submitted a document to the United Nations to formally affirm its intention to withdraw from the Paris Convention, but the country will continue to participate in global climate negotiations to "protect US interests and ensure all future policy options remain open to the administration."
However, US law provides that the US may not resign from the agreement until 2019, meaning the statement was nothing more than a symbolic gesture and carries no legal clout. The US cannot leave the convention until Nov. 4, 2020.
America played a very important role in the anti-climate change campaign, Xie said, adding that China hoped the US would continue to cooperate with other countries within the 'big family.' Together, the members will be able to create a human community with a common goal, and ultimately achieve sustainable development for the planet, he added.