Transcript: Chinese Climate Envoy's press conference at COP 26

Xie Zhenhua's answers on the climate crisis to journalists in Glasgow

On November 2, 解振华 Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, gave a press conference in Glasgow during the ongoing COP 26.

Your Pekingnologist hasn’t been able to find a transcript of that press conference online so decides to mount a private effort to get it “on the record” to facilitate dissemination, attribution, and discussion in a wider audience on the accounts given by Xie Zhenhua, by all accounts a well-respected climate diplomat. Otherwise, the world only has various fragmented reports and recollections from the very limited number of people in that room.

This is based on one participating journalist’s audio recording of the press conference which includes both Xie’s spoken Chinese and a consecutive interpretation in the room. 廖宸婕 Larissa Chenjie Liao, a junior student in Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University and contributor to Yang Liu’s Beijing Channel newsletter, spent hours helping transcribe it. Based on that, your Pekingnologist further edited it.

The English-language part below is almost solely based on the audio recording, with limited revision from Pekingnology. All the words within brackets () were added by Pekingnology based on the Chinese-language answers, since consecutive interpretation - as good as the interpreter has done her job - has its own limits. All the emphasis is by Pekingnology.

Yes, this is a bit late - nearly two weeks have passed since this press conference, and China and the United States have since surprisingly issued a joint statement. But the climate crisis is the biggest challenge to humanity and a private effort is needed, albeit based on extremely limited resources.

It’s likely this transcript includes some errors. The audio recording has been uploaded to Google Drive so you can cross-check it. In case you cite any part of this transcript, it would be appreciated if you include a link - better still, a brief introduction - to this newsletter.

As always, you’re welcome to send feedback if you find any errors, and upon confirmation, they will be promptly updated here.

Based on the audio recording, there a total of 10 questions from China Central Television, Phoenix TV, BBC, The Guardian, China Daily, the Straits Times, the Associated Press, Xinhua News Agency, CNN, and Reuters - in that order.

Some highlights from your Pekingnologist:

  • Up to now, there is still a large gap between the support required (of developed countries) and the support provided (by them). For instance, and by now, by 2021, developed countries have largely failed to honor the commitment of 100 billion US dollars annually for climate finance.

  • Now adaptation only gets 20% of all the climate finance, which is far from enough. That is why the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres suggested a 50-50 split between adaptation and mitigation. In climate finance, China fully supports that proposition.

  • Money and technology (is required for such a huge market as China and the world), which is why enterprises should play a key role in this process to provide finance and technology. We need also to cooperate with the research institutions and NGOs.

  • Paris goal is a goal for the world. It’s not a (one-cut) goal for each individual country (where everyone is required to achieve the same thing at the same time). If we follow this principle, some countries need to achieve carbon neutrality well before 2050, some at 2050, and some after 2050. These are determined by the national circumstances and development stage of each and every country. If we are to enhance our ambition at this COP 26, apparently, the effort of developed countries is still far from enough.

  • Our planned in-plan in-stored capacity for wind and solar power will exceed 1,200 gigawatts, more than the current total in-stored capacity of the United States [around 1,100 gigawatts]. This is a demonstration of our effort and our ambition.

  • We think that Article 6 is quite significant for achieving the Paris goals using market-based instruments. China is highly supported in finalizing this issue during this COP.

  • Whenever we talk about temperature goals, these are goals for the whole world, not for any individual country. The goals for each country are set by these individual countries based on the principles of CBDR (Common But Differentiated Responsibilities) and also based on the national capabilities, circumstances, and starting point. Even for the global stocktaking that will take place 5 years from now, what the world will do is to evaluate the gap between the world's aggregated progress and the overall target and then determine how to improve our action and support to achieve the overall global goal.

  • If you look at the story (China’s power shortage) from another perspective, it's a reflection of the Chinese effort and seriousness to adjust our energy structure and limit the use of coal. These problems may be associated with some one-size-for-all policy adopted by the local government, but actually, I think it also can be regarded as a reflection of our seriousness and determination to apply more renewable energy and reduce the consumption of coal.

媒体的同事们,大家好。非常高兴在COP26刚刚开始的这么一个阶段跟大家见面。我看了一下媒体的名单都是很重要的媒体,所以非常愿意跟大家来讨论一下交流一下。因为时间有限,我就不开始就大篇的讲,结果把你们提问的时间都给占了,我还是直接你们就提问题,我来回答问题。我能回答的我就回答;不能回答的,完了以后我们私下里边我再回答你们的问题,没有关系。主要是个习近平主席,因为我们国内日程安排的原因,他这次没有来参加COP26的领导人的峰会。但是他很重视,在会上发表了一个文字的发言。现在他的发言已经在秘书处的网站上已经挂上了,而且书面的东西也给了各个代表团,可能各位手里也有了。我就不再把他的文字发言再给大家念了,大家都已经看了。我要说的可能都是你们想问的,所以我就不再说了,你们就问就行了。

(Greetings to colleagues from the media.) I notice that you all come from very important media organizations. I will not give quite very long opening remarks because that would take too much time from you.

So how about we go directly to Q&A, and I will try my best to answer your questions. If we can not finish answering all the questions today during this news briefing, we can find time later to take your questions. For this COP26, President Xi cannot attend the world leaders summit physically, but he pays high attention to this event and has given a written statement for the World Leaders Summit and COP26. This statement is now available on the website of UNFCCC. We have also shared printed copies to all the delegations participating in COP26. Perhaps some of you already have a copy with you. That's great. So perhaps we can go directly to the questions.

好的,我们先开始提问。 

So, Any questions?

先请这位女士。

We start from this lady. 

1. 中央广播电视台 China Central Television

Q: 我是中央广播电视台记者。我们通过大数据的调查研究发现,自从巴黎协定签署以来,发达国家对支持发展中国家的具体承诺均没有兑现,并且其自身在应对气候变化方面的言辞也越来越自相矛盾,而中国在应对生态文明建设方面,则在一步一个脚印中变得越来越自信。那么请问解特使,您如何看待中国在建设生态之路方面的经验,对世界气候治理方面的借鉴意义?谢谢。

Q: I'm with China Central Television. My question is, according to our big data, we found that since the signing of the Paris Agreement, developed countries have largely failed to honor the commitments. And they are increasingly having contradictory words regarding their commitments and actions. While for China, we have become increasingly self-confident in promoting our ecological civilization. So I would like to seek the view from Minister Xie. How do you view this progress China has made in promoting ecological civilization? What's the experience China has gained in its effort?

A: 巴黎协定是气候变化的多边进程一个里程碑。它在公约的指导之下,它是落实公约的这么一个协定。巴黎协定展现了最大的包容性。它在大家各个国家的共同努力之下,规定了我们全球应对气候变化的目标,应该坚持的原则。在减缓、适应、资金、技术、能力建设、透明度等等各个方面,都做出了一些明确的规定和要求。有些定量的一些要求在巴黎气候大会的决定当中表达出来了,应该说协定和决定是展现了最大的包容性。关键问题是大家都要认真的来落实,应该把各国的政治意愿反映在各国的行动当中去,这是非常重要的。

A: The Paris agreement is a milestone in the multi-lateral process of addressing climate change. The purpose of the Paris Agreement is to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement is a highly inclusive one. It has said the global climate target and the principles we should follow with the effort from all parties. It has also made clear the requirements and provisions on adaptation, mitigation, finance, technology, capacity building, and transparency.

Also, in the Paris Agreement, there were some quantified requirements. So we should say that both the decision and the Paris Agreement are highly inclusive. The most important work for us to do is to implement this decision and agreement and reflect it in our concrete actions.

在哥本哈根之后,各个国家都提出了2020年之前的行动和承诺,然后又做出了2030年的自主贡献。这个应该说各国都提出了自己的NDC或者2020年之前的目标。在多边也提出了发达国家要为发展国家在2020年之前,每年要提供1000亿美金的资金支持,而且也建立了技术创新、技术合作、技术转让的一个技术方面的机制安排。另外,也提出了发展国家要提高适应能力、应对气候变化的能力。比如说你要搞透明度,也得有能力建设的支持。另外还有提高适应能力,这些都需要给他们提供资金和技术支持。在这方面现在看并不理想。据我们了解,到2021年,就是到今年,1000亿美金的资金并没有兑现。有的讲已经达到了800亿,有的讲现在还有相当大的差距。差距在哪呢?至少是200亿左右。最近我和大会主席、美国的克里特使以及一些国家的部长们领导人在谈的时候呢,他们告诉我,可能1000亿美金的资金支持到2022年甚至2023年就能够到位。在这个基础之上,到2025年还会有比较大的增加。这是将来的承诺说了一个数,但是2020年之前的资金承诺并没有兑现,发展中国家就觉得政治互信上出了一些问题。

After the COP 26 summit in Copenhagen (in 2009), all parties have submitted the action plans and commitment before 2020 and there are NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) before 2030. And also at the multi-lateral process, developed countries pledged to provide 100 billion US dollars annually before 2020 to developing countries. In the meantime, we have established a mechanism for technology, innovation, cooperation, and transfer. We also aimed to help developing countries improve their capacity for adaptation and for coping with climate change. Developed countries are also required developing countries to enhance transparency. But in this regard, it is also important for developed countries to provide support to developing countries so that they can enhance transparency. Also, in terms of adaptation capacity, developed countries also need to provide financial and technological support.

But up to now, there is still a large gap between the support required and the support provided. For instance, and by now, by 2021, developed countries have largely failed to honor the commitment of 100 billion US dollars annually for climate finance. Some say that there were already 80 billion dollars available. Some say that there is still a large gap. (What’s the large gap?) At least around 20 billion. I recently talked to COP26 president Alok Sharma, John Kerry (of the United States), and ministers from many other countries. They told me that we need to wait until 2022 or even 2023 to achieve the US $100 billion targets. (From there on) they said that there will be a huge increase in terms of climate finance beyond 2025. However, they fail to deliver the commitment before 2020, which has a negative impact on the mutual (political) trust between developed and developing countries. 

我和克里特使、沙尔马主席的交谈都是完全建设性的,主要是为了评估一下COP26需要解决哪些问题,所以也看到了差距。另外一个差距就是巴黎协定和公约非常明确地提出来,减缓跟适应同等重要。但是现在适应并没有得到足够的重视,适应的资金只得到了整个资金的20%,是远远不够的。所以古特雷斯秘书长就提出来,应该把减缓和适应的资金平衡,各占50%,这一点我们还是赞成的。

My discussions with John Kerry and Alok Sharma were highly constructive. We aimed to discuss the issues to be addressed at COP26. And in our discussions, we found there were still huge gaps. Actually, the Paris Agreement stipulates that there should be a balance between mitigation and adaptation. But now adaptation only gets 20% of all the climate finance, which is far from enough. That is why the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres suggested a 50-50 split between adaptation and mitigation. In climate finance, China fully supports that proposition.

下面我再回答你这第二个问题,就是把中国的一些情况给大家介绍一下。中国2020年之前的目标,我们已经提前超额完成了,已经提前实现了。应该说中国在经济社会发展的过程当中,逐步地或者是初步地进入了比较能够协调发展的道路。我们的NDC的基年是2005年。我们拿2005年和2020年来相比较,我们所取得的进展给大家简要地介绍一下。 

Now I take your second question and share with you the China experience. For China, we have exceeded in advance (of) our 2020 targets. We should say that China has taken a coordinated economic development path. For us, our baseline year for NDC is 2005 and now I'd like to share with you China’s progress has been achieved compared to 2005.

各国在采取措施方面,无外乎就是这几方面:节能,提高能源的利用效率,优化能源结构,发展可再生能源,调整产业结构。另外,发展森林碳汇。主要是这么些措施。中国在这方面,我把几个主要的数据给大家介绍一下,就看看中国在这方面我们做了一些什么。

For all countries around the world, measures are taken to address climate change, focus on energy conservation, improve energy efficiency, improve the industrial structure, promote renewable energy, and increase forest carbon sink. Now I would like to share with you some data to show what kind of progress and effort China has achieved and made.

中国在优化能源结构,发展可再生能源方面,这是我们实现中国减排的一个很重要的措施。中国在最近这些年我们可再生能源装机是8.9亿千瓦,占全球总的可再生能源的装机容量占了32%,占了增量的53%。 

For China, we have already an in-store capacity for renewable energy of 890 gigawatt, which accounts for 32% of the world's total and 53% of the (world’s) newly added renewable energy.

中国在可再生能源的投资方面,连续8年排在世界第一。由于大规模的发展可再生能源,实际上可再生能源的成本大大地降低了,现在它完全可以和常规的发电成本相媲美了,将来的发展会越来越低。这是一个在可再生能源这方面,中国一些取得的进展。

For the past 8 years, China has been the world's number one in terms of investment in renewable energy. Because of our efforts in developing renewable energy, the cost (of renewable energy) has actually been driven down significantly. Now renewable energy is competitive compared to conventional energy resources in China. With our continuous effort, the cost continues to go down. 

第二个就是节能提高能源的利用效率。这方面中国跟2005年相比,我们的单位GDP的能耗下降42.4%,相当于节能22亿吨标准煤。相应的我们的碳强度下降48.4%,相当于减少二氧化碳排放57亿吨。我们的原来的承诺的目标是减40~45%,现在我们已经完成了48.4%。

In terms of energy-saving and improving energy efficiency compared with 2005, our energy consumption per unit GDP declined by 42.4%, which means a reduction of 2.2 billion tons of standard coal. And our carbon intensity decreased by 48.4%, meaning that we have reduced our CO2 emissions by 5.7 billion tons. Our commitment is to reduce carbon intensity by 40% to 45%. And now we have exceeded our set target.

世界银行公布了一个数据,最近这20年中国的累计节能量占了全球的58%。虽然取得了这么大的进展,但是我们的能效水平还比较低,距离先进水平我们还差1.7倍。所以这个应该说我们还有很大的潜力要继续做好,对吧?

According to statistics of the World Bank, in the past 20 years, China aggregated energy saved accounts for 58% of the world total. But our energy efficiency still has large room to be improved. Even though we have achieved such great progress, we are still 1.7 times higher than the world's advanced level. So there is still a great potential for us to further enhance our energy efficiency.

另外在能源方面,从提高能源利用效率,碳强度下降这方面,应该说中国取得了积极的进展,对我们经济增长、碳排放下降应该说起到了很重要的作用。再有一个就是交通领域的节能减排,主要是一个是发展公共交通,另外一个就是发展清洁的交通工具,比方电动汽车。到今年现在为止,中国新能源的汽车一共是678万辆,其中电动汽车552万辆,占了全球电动汽车保有量的50%以上。 

And energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement has also contributed to our economic development. Another area we have invested great effort in is transportation. On one hand, we greatly promote public transportation. On the other hand, we developed clean transportation, especially electric vehicles. Now we have a total of 6.78 million clean vehicles among which 5.52 million are electric vehicles, accounting for more than 50% of the world total.

跟电动汽车相配套的就是充电桩,实际上充电装置也是一个储能的装置,所以中国现在的充电桩已经建了222.3万台,跟电动汽车相比,比例大体上3:1。

To support the development of electric vehicles, we have built a lot of charging piles for electric vehicles. Now we have a total of 2.23 million charging piles, meaning that for every three electric vehicles that will be one charging pile available.

还有一个增加森林碳汇,它的一个重要指标是森林蓄积量,我们已经比2005年相比增加了51亿立方米,原来的确定目标是40~45亿立方米,所以超额完成了。森林覆盖率,这个已经达到了23.04%,增加了4.83万立方米,应该说是占了全球增加量的20%。

Another area of our effort is to increase forest carbon sink. Forest carbon think is an important indicator of our NDC. We have increased our forest storage by 5.1 billion cubic meters. Our target was to increase by 40 to 45 cubic meters. This is another area we have exceeded our set targets. We have also largely increased forest coverage in China. The number is 23.04%, which accounts for more than 20% of the newly added forest coverage in the world.

在整个2005年到现在为止,我们气候行动取得这些进展,在同期我们的GDP增长了3.3倍,农村的贫困人口减少了将近1亿人。所以这就证明我们的经济增长和气候行动、环境质量的改善,应该说逐步地开始走上了脱碳的路径。

This was achieved since 2005. In this time our GDP increased by 3.3 times. We have also successfully alleviated more than 100 million rural people from poverty. We can see that we can achieve addressing climate change by protecting the environment, while the economy grows. And we have gradually stepped on the path where decarbonize our economy from carbon emissions.

大家都很关心中国的核电还发展不发展。我们要在确保安全的情况下,还要发展核电。因为中国的煤炭能源结构里边煤比较重,所以我们要发展一些核电。中国已经建的核电可能装机有5.7亿千瓦,我们准备到2030年要建成12亿千瓦以上。12亿千瓦以上的核电是什么概念呢?美国现在全国的总装机容量是11亿千瓦,所以核电的规模还是相当大的。13亿是吧?可再生能源现在是,我们到2030年要达到12亿千瓦以上风电和光伏发电。

I know you have a great interest in our nuclear power development. China will continue to develop nuclear power while ensuring safety. Coal accounts for a large proportion of our resources endowment. So we need to develop nuclear power as a supplement. Now China has a total in-store capacity of nuclear power of 570 gigawatts. Our aim is to build (at least) 1,200 gigawatts by 2030. To help you better understand this number, I put it in context. The total in-store capacity of the United States is 1,100 gigawatts.

我这个问题我回答完了.大家别着急,每个人都可以让你们提问题,时间可以稍微延长一点

We can make this news briefing a little longer and so that I can take a question from every one of you.

To Pekingnology sustainable, please consider buy me a coffee or pay me via Paypal.

2. 凤凰卫视 Phoenix TV

Q: 解特使您好,我是凤凰卫视的记者徐亮。因为在这段时间的会议当中,我也同发展中国家的政府代表有一些交流,我发现他们非常期待未来中国在气候变化领域的表现,也非常期待能和中国的企业在气候变化加强合作。所以我想请问您就是中方目前有没有哪一些的计划,或者说是在哪一些领域是可以和他们达成一些潜在的目标?如果说没有的话,面临的困难和挑战有哪一些,非常感谢。

Q: I'm with Phoenix TV. At COP26, I have discussed this with some government representatives from developing countries. They all have an interest in the Chinese role in addressing climate change. They wondered how can we promote cooperation with China and Chinese companies. Does China have any plan to carry out such cooperation and which areas can we carry out such cooperation? If not, are there any difficulties or challenges?

A: 这个问题要这样,为了COP26能够取得成功,为了使各国的 NDC能够通过合作来共同推动整个进程,今年以来,我们已经和美国的气候特使克里先生,我们两个人进行了频繁的对话。面对面的交流有三次,通过视频对话有24次,加起来是27次。我们发表了中美气候变应对气候危机联合声明,其中谈到了近期要做三件事,中期做三件事,然后中美要在8个领域开展合作。另外蒂莫曼斯先生,欧盟的第一副主席和我们中国的常务副总理韩正副总理,建立了一个气候跟环境的一个对话机制,搞了两次,发表了中欧关于气候变化的一个联合公报,实际上也确定了将近有若干个领域的合作。

A: To ensure a successful COP26 and to promote climate corporation among all parties, we have had multiple runs of discussions and dialogues with US counterpart John Kerry. This year we already had 24 online meetings and three face-to-face meetings. We released a joint statement on addressing the climate crisis in which we identified three things we plan to do in the near term and three things to do in the midterm as well as eight areas for cooperation. I've also had meetings and discussions with Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission. After Frans Timmermans meeting with the Chinese first vice-premier Han Zheng. They jointly released a communique on the cooperation between China and the EU and also identified specific areas for cooperation.

实际上中美、中欧大体上是这么些领域要进行合作,比如说节能,提高能源的利用效率,发展可再生能源,以化石能源为主的这么一个能源结构,把它的调整成以可再生能源为主的能源结构。在这个当中要解决电网的安全问题,储能问题,要发展CCUS这些技术。

Those areas are basically energy conservation, promoting energy efficiency, promoting reliable energy, and shifting from fossil to reliable energy. In this process, we need to address some issues including the safety and stability of great energy storage and the development of CCUS (Carbon capture, utilization, and storage) technology.

还有除了节能提高能源效率之外,我们还开展发展循环经济。要最大限度地呢,节约资源,提高资源的利用效率。另外在绿色建筑、绿色低碳的交通,这方面也确定了也要开展合作。

Besides energy saving and energy efficiency, we have also agreed to jointly promote a circular economy, save resources, and promote the efficiency of resource utilization. We've also agreed to carry out cooperation in green building as well as green and low carbon transportation.

我们都要批准基加利修正案,要在减少甲烷和非二氧化碳方面开展合作。另外在航空航海植树造林、保护森林,增加森林碳汇这些方面也要开展合作

We will both ratify the Kigali Amendment and carry out cooperation in terms of methane emission and Non-CO2 greenhouse gases, emissions saving from aviation and navigation, and also to increase forestation and forest carbon sink.

还有基于自然的解决方案,这方面也开展合作。实际上我们跟中美、中欧有这么多合作,准备要开展一些合作,实际上企业家、地方政府已经开始合作了。比如说中国的发改委在中国已经开了三次跨国企业的领导人的研讨会,把我们中国要实现2030年之前要达峰,2060年之前要实现碳中和,我们要采取哪些政策措施,各个领域要做什么都通报给他们,这些企业家们很兴奋。大家都愿意跟中国,看到了中国市场,都愿意跟中国来开展合作。另外我们也召开了中美低碳智慧城市市长的论坛,也召开了中美的省州长之间的对话,这些活动在今年都开展起来了。特别是我们希望要真正的解决气候问题,企业家必须要参与进来,企业是主力,所以我们欢迎中国的企业和世界各国的企业要开展合作。

We have also decided to carry out cooperation in nature-based solutions. We also agree that it is important for enterprises and local governments to participate in these operations. This year, our National Development and Reform Commission, NDRC, has already organized three seminars engaging CEOs from multi-national enterprises. And we shared with them during these seminars, our policies and measures to be taken to achieve our target of peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060. These CEOs are quite interested in this because they see there is a huge market and they are willing to participate in this cooperation. Also, We have organized a forum, (on) China-US cooperation on low-carbon and smart cities. We have organized these dialogues and discussions among Chinese provincial governors and US state governors. We both agree that it is important to have enterprises participate in this process and they should play a major role. China is ready to carry out cooperation with enterprises from around the world.

因为我在中国接待了英国的沙尔马,这次COP26的主席,也和俄罗斯普京总统的特使以及日本、德国、挪威、法国、新加坡、丹麦、格林纳达、基础4国、立场相近发展中国家以及脆弱国家的主席孟加拉国,跟这些都在最近这些时间进行了视频通话。既交流、协调立场,怎么样想办法,大家都展现建设性来支持COP26能够取得成功,另外也商量了要在气候变化这个领域开展一些合作。

Recently, I have the delegation received in China, headed by Alok Sharma, the COP26 president. I’ve also had virtual meetings with representatives from many countries, including the special representative of President Vladimir Putin, ministers from Japan, Germany, Norway, France, Singapore, Denmark, Grenada, BASIC countries, Like-Minded Developing Countries and the chairman of Vulnerable Countries who's from Bangladesh. We have had in-depth and extensive exchanges of views and coordinate is our positions. We all agree that we need to be constructive to ensure a successful COP26 (and cooperations on climate change).

在北京我和欧洲驻华21个国家的大使进行了面对面的交谈,商量我们中欧之间可以有哪些合作。应该说要实现巴黎协定所确定的目标,需要各国一起努力。据联合国报告,要实现巴黎协定确定的目标,大体上需要100万亿美金的投入。要中国实现中国的NDC和长期的目标,需要,大体上我们有的机构测算,需要136万亿人民币。不光是全球还是中国,需要这么大的市场,就需要资金和技术,所以这企业家他们是主力。另外大学、科研机构,我们都希望能够开展广泛的合作,还有NGO的合作。只有这些合作才能真正地实现中国的目标和全球的目标。

Also, back in Beijing, I have had face-to-face meetings with 21 ambassadors from EU member states. We discussed how to promote cooperation between China and the EU. We all agreed that to achieve the Paris goals, the world needs to work (together). For instance, according to United Nations statistics, we need 100 trillion US dollars to achieve our global climate goals. For China to achieve our National Determined Contributions, NDC, and long-term vision, we need a total investment of 136 trillion RMB (according to some of the estimates). So we can see that money and technology (is required for such a huge market as China and the world), which is why enterprises should play a key role in this process to provide finance and technology. We need also to cooperate with the research institutions and NGOs. Only through doing this, can we achieve the target of not only China but the world as a whole.

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3. BBC

Q: Ahead of COP26, a lot of people were expecting China to take the leadership on world climate issues. Recently, however, things that happen to the west received is [compreter?]. For example, the recent coal, the really more coal energy the last year. The decision by Xi Jinping to 【53:09 ???】 at most recently, the failure to produce new ambitious NDCs for this meeting. Given that background, some Chinese allies, friends are disappointed. China has not assumed the position of a global leader. What does the minister reply to that?

Q: 我是来自BBC的。在COP26之前,有很多方面都期望中国能够在应对气候变化方面发挥更多的领导力,但是近期根据一些西方的解读,世界认为中国并没有这样做。比如说在前几周中国宣布还要继续增加煤炭的消费、新建煤电厂,然后同时习主席也没有来参加COP26。而且中国也没有提出更加有雄心的国家自主贡献。不仅是西方世界这么看,中国的一些盟友或者说是朋友,也对中国没有展现出领导力感到失望。不知道解特使对此有何看法?

A: 谢谢大家你这不是一个问题了,好多问题了,我都得回答。

A: That's not only one question. That's a series of questions. I need to take them all.

其实各国的自主贡献都是要基于各国的国情,所以这也是公约巴黎协定要求,所以各个国家还是要按照公平、能力、共同但区别责任,考虑各国的国情,按照这样的一个原则来各国贡献自己的能力。刚才我讲中国在节能、提高能效、发展可再生能源、交通、建筑等等这些领域,应该说中国做的贡献基本上都是占全球总量的30%~50%,应该说中国在这方面的贡献是显而易见的。 

[interpution from an unknown journalist in the room] Q: Excuse me, could it be possible to answer in English? Is that possible?

A: 你拿中文问我问题不就完了吗?How about you raise your question in Chinese?

[Laughter] Hahaha

The respective national determined contribution should be based on the national circumstances of each country. This is also in line with the requirements of UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. The NDCs should follow the principle of equity, respective capacities, CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities), and in the light of national circumstances. Just now I shared with you Chinese progress made in terms of energy-saving and energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation, and building. Actually, China has contributed from 30% to 50% of the world's total progress. That's apparent to see.

实际上中国的 NDC是在去年9月份,是在欧盟的绿色新政提出来之后,中国就比较早的提出了中国的NDC和长期的发展愿景。应该说在这一点上,中国是率先公布了自己的目标,也是应该说带了一个好头。随着以后各个国家开始来公布自己的NDC,在这方面中国也带了一个好头。

China’s NDC was updated in September last year. It was after the EU released its green deal. Along with our updated NDC, we also released our long-term vision. We should say that China took the lead to release our NDC and long-term vision and assumed our leadership by setting good examples. Many other countries only released the NDCs after China.

中国的NDC是更新了的,是有力度的。我们提出来是2030年之前,而不是到2030年,是2030年之前,要实现二氧化碳排放要达到峰值。碳中和也是提出了2060年之前,也不是到2060年。所以在这一点上它跟左右和 “by”,是概念不一样的,我认为是很有力度的。为什么说它很有力度?因为气候行动的这些目标,它不光是气候,他要跟国家的经济、社会、环境、就业等等的各个方面,一个系统的工程要进行一场系统的经济社会的变革,才能实现这个目标。 

Chinese NDC is already updated and it's already very ambitious. Our NDC is that we need to achieve CO2 emission a peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. That's a huge difference from around or by. I think it's already quite ambitious. I also think that climate targets are not simply climate targets. It's closely linked to social, economic development, environmental protection, and employment and we need to transfer our system to systemically achieve our climate goals.

刚才你提到了能源问题,实际上在其他方面我们都提的是一场变革,在能源领域我们习主席提出来要进行一场革命,所以能源领域要进行一场革命,才能够真正的改变我们现在的能源结构。这样的话他已经非常明确的提出来了,煤炭,在国内的煤炭,十四五,也就是2025年之前,煤炭要进行严格的控制。十五五,也就是2030年之后,要逐步地减少。对煤炭实际上描绘出来它一个发展的轨迹,另外对这个煤电厂,因为你要发展大量地发展可再生能源,现在我们可再生能源占了整个装机容量的1/3了,说必须要保障电网的安全,就要解决它的储能问题,解决电网的传输问题,还有很多问题要解决,所以在这个当中你要发展一些煤电、核电、气电来进行调峰,保证电网的安全。有这么一个过渡期之后,肯定我们整个的能源结构的调整会快速地进行变化。

Also, we have said that we need to facilitate transitions in many areas. But for the energy sector, what President Xi Jinping said was to have a revolution to change our energy, to optimize our energy sector. Only by doing that, can we truly optimize our energy mix. Our goal is to strictly control coal consumption during the 14th 5-year-period. That's before 2025. During the 15th 5-year-period, that's before 2030, we will gradually reduce our coal consumption. There is a very clear pathway in this regard for coal.

(Also, for coal-fired power plants, since you need to develop renewable energy massively) And for China, our renewable in-store capacity already accounts for more than 1/3 of our total in-stored capacity. For now, we need to also develop some coal-fired power plants, nuclear power plants, and natural gas-powered fire power plants to ensure the stability of our grid. We need also to address problems such as energy storage and electricity transmission. So we need some time (as a transition period) to achieve this goal and after we passed this period there will be accelerated adjustment in our energy mix.

如果说有一些煤电由于电网的要求需要新建一些,但是它的技术标准、排放标准、它的能耗标准全世界上最先进的。在建新的同时,我们淘汰大量的耗能高排放的电厂。淘汰了多少?最近这8年淘汰了1.2亿装机的火电。1.2亿是个什么概念?英国全国的总装机容量不到1.2亿,所以它就是八九千万千瓦。所以在这一点上我们建新的淘汰旧的,实际上大体上一个等量置换或者是减量置换,应该有这么一个过程。 

In some cases, we may need to build some new coal-fired power plants to ensure there's safety and stability of our power grid. But for those newly built coal-fired power plants, all apply to the highest possible standards in terms of technology, emission, and energy consumption. In the process, we have decommissioned a huge number of coal-fired power plants with a total installed capacity of  120 million kilowatts.  To put this in context, the total installed capacity of the UK is only around 80 to 90 gigawatt. We're substituting old coal-fired power plants with high-standard new coal-fired power plants.

(Note on Nov. 22, 2021: Two sentences here are highlighted because an earlier version of the transcript published here includes errors, which were notified by a careful reader. The errors have since been amended here.)

另外刚才我讲了,我们还要在2030年之前大量地建可再生能源。光风力发电和光伏发电,就要建成12亿千瓦以上的装机容量。什么概念?就是高于美国现在的全国的装机总量,所以这不可谓在发展可再生能源方面我们的力度不大。

Just now I also mentioned that for China, we will vigorously develop renewable energy before 2030. Our planned in-plan in-stored capacity for wind and solar power will exceed 1,200 gigawatts, more than the current total in-stored capacity of the United States [around 1,100 gigawatts]. This is a demonstration of our effort and our ambition.

另外大家都关心中国在海外建了煤电。实际上习主席已经宣布了,中国不在海外新建煤电的项目,就不在新建了。但是过去是不是中国就建了很多?也不是这个样子。我们查了一下数据,最近这些年,在海外搞化石能源的投资,前10位没有中国,前7位没有中国。所以中国的在化石能源的投资方面,并不是最多的,而是排在后面的,而且总体上的趋势是在缩小的这么一个趋势。现在我们就干脆煤电我们就不建了。 

I know you are all very interested in China's coal-fired power plants abroad. President Xi Jinping already announced that China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad. So does this mean that China has a lot of coal-fired power plants overseas in the past? That's not true. According to statistics I have at my hand, among all the top ten overseas investors on fossil fuels or even among the top 7, none of them are Chinese companies or entities. Actually China ranks quite low on this list of overseas investment in fossil fuel and our investment has already been on the decline. So that is why we decided that we will shut off. We will just stop building new coal-fired power projects abroad.

有一个大国跟我说,他说我们要准备要建50万个充电桩,我说我们已经建了222万个充电桩了。我们还在建,因为我们大力地发展电动汽车,我们还要再建。

A certain big country told me that they plan to build 500,000 charging posts for electric vehicles, and I told them that for China we already have 2.22 million charging piles for electric vehicles. And we will continue to build more.

我们为了实现2030年之前,要达到二氧化碳排放的峰值,中国不光是说,而且我们要实实在在地做。刚刚发布了一个实现2030年达峰的要采取的行动,一共是十大行动,我给你们简单的介绍一下这十大行动。一个是能源绿色低碳转型行动,就是能源领域。第二个是节能降碳增效行动,第三个是工业领域碳达峰行动。第四个是城乡建设碳达峰行动。第五个是交通运输绿色低碳行动。第六是循环经济助力降碳行动。第七个是绿色低碳科技创新行动。第八个是碳汇能力巩固提升行动。第九是绿色低碳全民行动。第十是各地区梯次有序的碳达峰行动,包括了各个重点的领域、重点的行业。

Just now I shared with you that the Chinese aim is to peak our CO2 emissions before 2030. We will not only make promises. We honor our words by real actions. We have already released an action plan for peaking our CO2 emissions and we will take action in ten major areas. Now I will share with you those ten areas. First is the green and low carbon transition of our energy sector. The second is to promote energy-saving and efficiency. Third, carbon peak in our industrial sector. Fourth is carbon peak in urban and rural areas. Fifth is the transportation sector. Sixth is a developed circular economy. Seventh is scientific innovation. Number eight is a forest carbon sink and number nine is the engagement of all people in the country. The tenth is the tiered peaking of all of the different regions of the country, meaning that different regions of the country need to peak at different times. (covering all major sectors.)

这个目标有没有力度,关键还是看行动,所以我们行动上是认认真真地在落实。习主席这次在文字的发言当中讲到了,一定要聚焦务实行动、我们确定了目标,要确定相配套的政策、措施、行动、投资,要有时间表、路线图,说了我们就得做到,这才是真正地体现力度,而不是光有目标,没有行动,没有政策,那算什么力度?

Whether a target or a goal is ambitious, the key is concrete actions to implement these goals. That is why in his written statement, President Xi stressed the importance to focus on taking concrete and pragmatical actions. I think it is important to have policies, measures, actions, and investments to support the implementation of our target and goals. We need to have clear timetables and a road map to achieve our goals. This is the true ambition we need to have.

谢谢。Thank you.

[Moderator] 我们再次提醒各位记者只提一个问题,要不然可能要不到那么多。I need to remind you to limit your question to only one. 

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4. The Guardian

Q: Thank you for holding this press conference. Thank you for the question. In the Paris agreement in 2015, we signed up to 2 temperature targets. It's 2°, pursuing a reference to 1.5℃. Since then, science should even more clearly from the IPCC that 1.5 is much safer. 2℃ is dangerous. This conference is focusing on keeping to 1.5°C. Just China agrees that it will seek to put all its efforts into achieving 1.5℃ as the limit rather than 2℃? [some are inaudible]

非常感谢您,解特使,感谢您举办这次新闻发布会。那么巴黎协定的温升目标是要控制在两度以内,力争1.5度。自巴黎协定以后,科学证据不断地显示了气候的紧迫性,包括最近IPCC发布的报告,世界现在认为就是1.5度是更加安全的,两度还是太危险了。这次的COP26会议,是聚焦于将目标定在1.5度上。那么我的问题就是中国会不会尽最大的努力来确保实现1.5度的目标?

A: 卫报是老朋友了,我几次参加会议都是你代表卫报来采访我。实际上巴黎协定确定的目标是两度以内,力争1.5度。我觉得这个目标它是一个体现了最大的包容性,也是根据IPCC的建议提出来的,它也是基于科学。另外它有可达性,它是一个辅助目标,给大家一个争取的空间。最近IPCC第6次评估报告里面第一工作组,只是第一工作组,他们提出了一些建议。最近工业秘书处也有一个评估,NDC的评估。另外环境署最近也有一个报告,这些报告我都看了。

A: You're an old friend. Every time I attend COP and have news briefing, you always represent The Guardian to raise questions to me. For the Paris Agreement target, actually, it says that we need to pursue an effort to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This is actually a very inclusive target, it’s also based on the IPCC report, so it's science-based. I think it's an achievable target because it’s a range giving parties room to make effort. I understand that recently the first working group of IPCC released a report, in which there are suggestions. There is also a synthesis report on NDCs by the UNFCCC secretariat. There’s an emissions report by UNEP. I have already read these reports.

因为这些报告跟过去IPCC的报告,它是有一个系统的联系。它只是告诉我们气候变化现在越来越由于人为的排放越来越严重,也就是说过去我们认为它是一个未来的威胁,已经变成了一个现实的危机,所以中美联合声明里边是叫应对气候危机的一个联合声明,也就是说现在这个问题越来越现实,越来越严峻,这说明了这么一个问题。但是它并没有超出IPCC过去研究报告里边他所描绘的那种趋势,我觉得是一致的。 

I understand that the report of the first working group of IPCC stressed the urgency of climate change and has linked it to human activities. It stressed that climate change is no longer a threat in the future, but one existing crisis we are facing now. That is why the joint statement between China and the US was named a joint statement on addressing the climate crisis. (Which is to say the problem is increasingly realistic and severe.) Even though we think that this report did not exceed the scenarios as described in the previous IPCC report. It's still within the scenarios. 

所以巴黎协定确定的目标刚才我讲了,它还是基于科学、基于规则、有很大的包容性还有可达性。这么一个幅度目标还是比较符合实际的。1.5度,也包括在巴黎协定目标里了。力争1.5度,也跟现在讲的1.5度的可达性没有太大的区别。在这一点上大家是有共识的。如果现在你破坏这个共识,一定要提出一个目标就是1.5度,有些国家就提出来了,如果你要是改变巴黎协定的目标,那得要重新谈判,那就来不及了。我们还是按照巴黎协定目标努力去争取1.5度,这样理解去做可能就更符合实际。 

I think that the Paris goals are science-based, rule-based, inclusive, and achievable. It is a quite realistic target. Actually, the 1.5℃ target is already included in the Paris goals. And I think it’s not quite different from what people are now saying keep 1.5℃ within range. For the Paris agreement, the world already has a consensus on that. If we are to only focus on 1.5℃, (some countries will say that) we are destroying this consensus among all parties and many countries are demanding re-opening of negotiations. If we ought to change the target to only 1.5℃and that will take a lot of time (which we don’t have). It will be a quite long process. So what I'm saying is that we need to be realistic, to be pragmatic and to correctly interpret the Paris Agreement goals, and focus on taking concrete and real actions.

能不能实现?两度以内、力争1.5度不在各国的口号,关键是在各国的行动。这个行动必须是要清晰的,各国必须要在经济社会要进行转型。我们用传统的发展方式、生活方式、消费模式,不可能实现巴黎协定的目标,必须要转型。而且在同时必须要进行技术创新,传统的技术也不能够解决巴黎协定的目标,实现目标也必须进行技术创新。而且我们多边的机制还是有需要进一步改革的完善的一些余地。在这种情况之下只要转型了、创新了,其实这些目标应该是只要大家努力,还有大家要合作,最后才能够实现这个目标。光看口号不行,光定目标不行,必须要有清晰的路径,要创新,而且要合作,真正才能解决问题。 

(Can we do it?) To achieve the Paris goal of limiting global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, we cannot achieve it by only making a commitment, making promises. We need real actions and concrete actions. We need to facilitate transitions in our economy and society. We cannot achieve this goal with our current pattern of consumption and life. We need also to promote technological innovation and also to improve the multi-lateral process. To summarize it, we need all to make efforts and carry out cooperation. Only by setting new targets, we are not solving our problem. We need a very clear pathway, roadmap and to promote innovation and cooperation to achieve the target we already said.

最近国际能源署发表了一个报告,我非常赞同报告的一些内容。它讲,如果我们2050年要实现近零排放或者是碳中和,各国家的历史责任不一样,起点不一样,能力不一样,国情不一样。在这种情况之下,还是要按照共同但区别责任的原则,所以发达国家要率先减排,而且要为发展中国家提供资金跟技术支持,全球一起合作,才能够实现这么一个目标。现在的目标是个整体的目标,并不是要求每个国家一刀切,大家都同时达到这个目标。如果按照这么一个原则,应该有的国家要到2050年就是负碳排放,有些国家是零碳排放,有些国家是低碳排放,就是根据各国的国情发展阶段的不同来决定的。所以我们就希望如果说要提高力度,发达国家现在确定的目标力度还是不够的。

Recently the International Energy Agency released a report. (I very much agree with it.) It says that if we are to achieve net-zero emissions or carbon neutrality by 2050, then we need to take into consideration historical responsibilities, the starting point of different countries, different abilities, and national circumstances. We need to follow the principle of CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities).

In this regard, developed countries need to take the lead to cut the emissions and to provide finance and technological support to developing countries because the Paris goal is a goal for the world. It’s not a (one-cut) goal for each individual country (where everyone is required to achieve the same thing at the same time). If we follow this principle, some countries need to achieve carbon neutrality well before 2050, some at 2050, and some after 2050. These are determined by the national circumstances and development stage of each and every country. If we are to enhance our ambition at this COP 26, apparently, the effort of developed countries is still far from enough.

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5. China Daily

Q: I just want to find out your confidence level about Article 6 will be finalized at COP26.

Q: 我是中国日报的。我的问题就是您对于这次大会上能够解决第6条的问题有多大的信心?

A: 第6条的问题,在这个会前,我们和美国、和欧盟、和巴西,另外和一些国家负责第6条的主席之友,我们都交换了意见,讨论了6.2、6.4、6.8条怎么样来解决?现在看大家希望这次会上解决第6条有共识了,这就是政治共识。另外就要解决一些具体的技术问题,比如说6.4条它的调整问题,6.2条怎么跟6.4条能够有个衔接的问题,还有收益分成的问题等等的这些问题。大家现在还在磋商的过程当中,我相信只要大家展现建设性,能够充分地发挥市场机制,来实现我们的巴黎协定的减排目标,用最低的成本实现最大的减排效益。如果有这么一个愿望,大家展现灵活性,我觉得第6条在这次会上应该能够解决,否则的话巴黎协定已经生效6年了,连这一个第6条都不能够完成,这真是说不过去,那怎么能证明我们多边机制的有效性呢?我认为这次会上第6条应该能够解决。 

A: Actually, before COP26, I have had extensive discussions with many countries, including the US, the EU, Brazil, and Friends of the COP26 President who are responsible for coordination on the issue of Article 6. We discussed how to address the issues related to Article 6.2, 6.4, and 6.8. I think that there is a broad consensus that we need to address, to finalize the outstanding issues regarding Article 6 during this COP including the corresponding adjustment in Article 6.4, how to link Article 6.2 to Article 6.4, profits sharing.

These issues are still under negotiation, but I think as long as all parties can be constructive and can agree that we need to cut emissions using market-based instruments at the lowest cost, there is a possibility that we can finalize these issues during this COP. The Paris agreement has already entered into force for six years. It will be difficult for us to explain to the world why we haven't finalized these issues after so many years and it is also important for us to prove the effectiveness of multilateralism to the world by addressing these issues. 

第6条在卡托维兹会议上分歧最大,最后中国不是矛盾的焦点。我们做了欧盟、巴西和美国以及加拿大这个主要方的工作,最后已经取得了共识了。就差最后在技术上找到解决问题的方案,因为时间的关系就推到马德里会。马德里会上,中方代表团也和这几个缔约方开始进行磋商,大体上也有一些共识了,结果最后因为协调可能出现的问题没有解决,我相信这次会上大家还要展现建设性,应该把这个问题解决,因为建立一个市场的机制来实现我们巴黎协定目标是非常有意义的,所以我们支持要把它解决好。

The issue of Article 6 was the issue with the biggest divergence back in Katowice. China was not at the center of this problem. We have coordinated and discussed with the EU, Brazil, the United States, and Canada. There was broad consensus among us. But due to some technical problems, we didn't finalize this issue and it was postponed to Madrid. We also had extensive discussions with those countries at COP25 and reached a broad consensus. But unfortunately, due to some coordination issues, it was again not addressed. We think that Article 6 is quite significant for achieving the Paris goals using market-based instruments. China is highly supported in finalizing this issue during this COP.

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6. The Straits Times

Q: My question is on the impact of the energy crisis. Many Chinese cities are faced power cuts in recent days. That really highlighted China’s still strong dependency on fossil fuel single energy. It's by far the largest investor of renewable energy. It's just an example of China’s immense energy needs. So do you think the current energy crisis will accelerate Chinese plans to invest faster in renewable energy efficiency? Within mind also the climate change in comparison.

Q: 我是新加坡海峡时报的。我的这个问题是关于中国最近的能源危机的影响。最近中国出现了一些拉闸限电的现象,当然我知道中国现在还是非常地依赖化石能源,虽然中国现在已经是最大的可再生能源的投资国。我想问现在最近的能源危机会不会加快中国投资可再生能源的计划,会不会促使中国进一步提高能源效率?当然这一项也是同时考虑到应对气候变化的需求。

A: 中国最近出现了拉闸限电的现象,这个现象是暂时的,这个不会长久。因为大家都知道我们做出了2030年之前要达峰,2060年之前要实现碳中和,对能源结构的调整和进行一场能源革命采取了很多积极的措施,所以说煤炭的产量受到了一些影响。所以煤价上升了,但是电价并没有上升,所以这个发电厂它也得考虑它的经济效益,最后可能就电力供应不足,就出现这么一个情况。现在基本上已经给电力系统、给电厂、给他们的电价进行了上下20%的浮动,实际上这个问题慢慢地就缓解了。另外正好是最近这段时间中国出现了洪涝灾害,说像河南、湖北很多省出现了大的洪涝灾害,也对可再生能源的发电也产生了一些影响。所以各种因素造成的出现了拉闸限电的现象,所以说这是暂时的,不会是长期的这么一个过程。另外也看到了中国确确实实认真地在做这件事。我们在调整能源结构,发展可再生能源,严格的控制煤炭和煤电。在这种情况之下,所以各地落实得很认真,所以出现了在执行的过程当中有些一刀切的这种现象,所以这种现象是暂时的,这也说明我们认认真真地是在做这件事,从两方面来看。

A: The recent energy crisis in China and the cut down of electricity supply is only temporary. Because we have set the target of achieving a CO2 peak before 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality before 2060, we are now taking active measures to adjust our energy mix and launch a revolution in our energy sector. As a result, the price of coal has risen while the price of electricity has not. Considering the profit, some coal-fired power plants decided to reduce supply. That is why there is a shortage of energy supply recently.

And now this problem is being addressed. First of all, we have authorized those electricity plants, coal-fired power plants, to adjust the price by 20% (which has slowly alleviated the problem). And another reason for this energy crisis is because we recently suffered from huge floods in several provinces as including Henan and Hubei. And these have hugely impacted our renewable energy generation. If you look at the story from another perspective, it's a reflection of Chinese effort and seriousness to adjust our energy structure and limit the use of coal. These problems may be associated with some one-size-for-all policy adopted by the local government, but actually, I think it also can be regarded as a reflection of our seriousness and determination to apply more renewable energy and reduce the consumption of coal.

你这个问题很专业,就是说你现在大家都要发展可再生能源,要增加可再生能源的比例,但是在这当中要解决电网的安全问题,要解决储能的问题。调峰电站还要解决他的CCUS把它要普及下来,实现减碳。所以这一系列的工程必须要考虑,光说发展可再生能源,它有间歇性,电网的安全怎么办?所以要真正要解决能源的问题,可能它是个系统工程,要解决相应地遇到的一些技术问题,现在还有管理上的问题,所以中国现在在这方面虽然可再能源发展得很快,但是我们对电网的安全方面还有很多工作要做,这是我们很多技术上的问题,还会进一步地来解决,所以我跟美国欧盟这些领导、同志们,跟那些同事们谈,说咱们能不能在这方面搞一些合作,最后把合作的需要就提出来了,大家就可以合作了。

I think that’s a very professional question you have raised. For China, we are determined to increase the share of renewable energy in our energy fix but we have to address serious problems including the safety of our grid, energy storage, and development of CCUS Carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies. You know that renewable energies are also intermittent (what to do with grid security?). We have to do a series of work to ensure the stable and safe development of renewable energy. Recently I discussed with the US and EU and proposed to them that this can be an area where we can have cooperation.

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7. the Associated Press

Q: I'm with the Associated Press. It seems like for a long time, there's been a pattern whenever some US administrations are blamed for not doing more to address climate change, they point to China and say China is the biggest matter of question, and we won’t do anything until China does more. And China in turn points to the US's status as the world's largest emitter over time.

So in that context, yesterday at COP, President Biden acknowledged that the United States had caused and the other developed nations had caused much of the climate damage. And he said that the United States and developed nations had an overwhelming obligation to least developed nations that are now struggling with climate change that was not caused by them. So that came from the world's largest historical emitter. But currently, China is the largest emitter and it's the country currently causing the most contribution to climate change. Does it bear responsibility for the climate change, any responsibility for the climate change, a mention, the rest of the world will face, and does it have any obligation to the people who are living with that obligation? How are you living with that obligation?

Q: 我是美联社的记者,我注意到有这么一个趋势,就是当美国的官员被人指责说美国对于应对气候变化的投入不够的时候,这些官员总会说中国是现在最大的排放国,中国应该做的更多。但事实上,中国总是要反过来指责美国,说美国是历史上最大的排放国。昨天在COP26的开幕式上,拜登总统说,美国承认包括美国在内的这些发达国家,对气候变化负有很大的历史责任,而受到气候变化影响最多的却是一些最不发达的国家。虽然拜登总统这么说了,但事实上中国现在就是全球最大的排放国,对于气候变化所负的责任是最大的。我想问您的问题就是中国在应对气候变化方面应该承担什么样的义务?您怎么看?

A: 你这个问题在我们搞巴黎协定谈判,我参加谈判了,十二年,谈判的过程当中反复地在讨论这个问题,最后大家有了结论,就是说气候变化、气候变暖的原因,主要是发达国家在工业化、城镇化的过程当中,无序排放造成的历史原因,这个是大家都有共识的。现在怎么办?大家要共同的努力,但是各国的发展阶段不一样,能力不一样,水平不一样,所以还是要按照依据各国的能力、水平、国情采取有区别的行动。行动是共同的,但是各国的能力不同,历史责任不同,肯定它应该承担的责任跟义务是不同的。但是我们主张,在应对气候变化这个问题上,所有的国家都要尽自己的最大努力,因为我们在同一个大船上同舟共济,所以大家都得要各尽所能,尽自己最大的能力。谁的能力最大?无疑当中是发达国家能力最大,所以说巴黎协定要求发达国家要率先进行大幅度的减排,并且为发展中国家提供资金和技术的支持。所以这巴黎协定已经说得很清楚了,而且在巴黎协定的第4条里也讲到了,全球要采取行动,要出现尽早地出现峰值,要尽早地出现碳综合,但是发展中国家应该滞后一些,需要的时间比较长一些,这是巴黎协定里边规定的大家也有共识的问题,所以这些问题这个应该说已经有答案了。所以中国处在现在这么一个发展阶段,我们还是一个发展国家,我们现在的人均GDP也就是刚刚到了1万,可是在发达国家、OECD国家,美国、欧盟在实现碳达峰时,大体上人均GDP都是25,000到3万美金左右或者以上。中国现在才刚刚1万美金,从人均GDP来说。人均排放,实际上在达到峰值的时候,发达国家的人均排放都比中国要高得多,而且高了不老少。所以从这个意义上看,中国在发展阶段当中确确实实是排放比较多,为什么?因为这是历史的原因,也就有一个库兹涅茨曲线所以在各国在发展的时候,肯定它会随着发展它增加排放,但是中国的排放已经把峰值大大地降低了。我们既要压低峰值、要缩短这个时间,这就是中国为应对气候变化做出来的努力。要历史地看,全过程地来看这个问题。

I have been engaged in climate negotiations for 12 years. Actually, the issue of historical responsibility is a heated debate issue. In negotiations of the Paris agreement, all parties agreed that the reason for climate change is the irrational emissions from developed countries through industrialization and urbanization. And all countries agreed that developed countries have historical responsibilities in terms of causing climate change.

Then how to address this problem of climate change? All parties agreed that we should all make our biggest efforts possible according to our different stages of development, capabilities, and national circumstances. Different countries need to assume different responsibilities. For China, we have already made our biggest possible effort to address climate change. We know that the world is on the same boat and we need to pull together and make our biggest contribution possible.

So on this boat, who has the biggest capability? It's the developed countries. That is why developed countries need to take the lead to cut emissions. And at the same time provide financial and technological support to developing countries. It is clearly stated in Article 4 of the Paris Agreement that the world needs to take action together and achieve carbon peaking and carbon neutrality as early as possible. And in the meantime, developing countries need more time. It is acknowledged that developing countries need more time to achieve carbon peaking and carbon neutrality.

For China, we are a developing country and we currently have a per capita GDP of only around $10,000, while for developed countries, including OECD countries, the United States, the EU, when they peak their carbon emissions, their per capita GDP was between $25,000 to $30,000 or even much higher above that.

In terms of per capita emissions, our per capita emissions will be much lower than that of developed countries when we reach our CO2 peak. So regarding the fact that China is the current largest emitter, it's because (of the history). You all know about the Kuznets curve, that China is now at the height of this curve due to some historical factors. But for China, we have already tried our best to lower the number of our highest CO2 emissions while shortening the time from peak to carbon neutrality.  We need to view the situation with a holistic perspective and take historical factors into consideration.

中国从碳达峰到碳中和,我们预计需要30年左右的时间。美国是45年到50年,欧盟60年到70年,现在看应该说中国的力度还是相当大的。我跟美国朋友、美国同事在讨论这个问题的时候,他们也告诉我,说我们尊重共同但有区别的责任原则,我们也不要求中国或者是发展中国家承担和我们发达国家一样的责任跟义务。他这个回答也等于是这解答了你的问题。另外巴黎协定的第4条,把现在我所讲的这些事实跟道理讲得很清楚了。它这么讲,为了实现第二条规定的长期气温目标,缔约方只在尽快地达到温室气体排放的全球峰值,同时认识到达峰对发展中国家缔约方来说需要更长的时间,峰值需要更长的时间。此后利用现有的最佳科学迅速减排,是中国达成目标之后要迅速的减排,斜率也是很大的。以联系可持续发展和消除贫困,在公平的基础上,在本世纪下半叶实现温室气体源的人为排放,与会的消除之间的平衡。其实这个问题无论从事实上我们两国的认识,还有巴黎协定当中都找到了答案。

China will take only 30 years to move from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality. The number is 45 to 50 years for the United States and 60 to 70 years for the European Union. So we said that China has already demonstrated very huge ambition in this regard. In my discussions with my US counterpart, he told me that the United States highly respects the principle of CBDR and will not require China and other developing countries to shoulder the same obligation and responsibilities as the United States. Regarding your question, I think this has already been clearly stated in Article 4 of the Paris Agreement. It says that to achieve the temperature target set in Article 2 of the Paris Agreement, countries need to achieve global carbon peaking as early as possible while taking into consideration that developing countries need more time to achieve carbon peaking and after that, making use of the best available technologies,countries will rapidly reduce their carbon emissions. And this effort must be linked with our unsustainable development and poverty eradication. And also it says that our goal is to achieve in the second half of this century balance between and through emissions by sources and remove all by six.

我再说一句,中美共同努力促成了巴黎协定的达成并签署生效。最后特朗普总统宣布退出了巴黎协定,习主席讲巴黎协定反映了世界发展的大趋势,来之不易,不能够轻言放弃,结果美国放弃了,整整耽误了整个气候变化的多边进程,耽误了5年,应该追上来我们一起合作。

 With the joint efforts of China and the United States, the Paris Agreement was reached, signed, and entered into effect. But after that, the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement. In that context,President Xi stressed the importance of the Paris Agreement and said that it's a reflection of the world's general trend and should not be abandoned easily. But for sure in the United States, we have already wasted 5 years. Now we need to work harder and catch up.

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8. 新华社 Xinhua News Agency

Q: 解特使您好,我是新华社记者。我想接着刚才美联社记者的问题。正如您所说,中国从碳达峰到碳中和,比美国和欧盟用的时间会更短。中国是不是相比其它国家要用更短的时间更快的速度才能达到这个目标?那在这个过程中,我们是否面临更大的困难或风险呢? 

Q: I'm with Xinhua News Agency. Following the questions raised by the Associated Press, I would like to ask you whether China will take a shorter time to move from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality? What difficulties and challenges China may face in this process?

A: 实际上中国要从达峰到碳中和这么短的时间,甚至我们达峰的时间也很紧迫了,这说明什么呢?我们有力度、有雄心,但是更说明任务非常地艰巨,面临着非常巨大的挑战。怎么解决这个问题?必须要转型和创新。在这一点上,习主席在这次文字的报告里面讲,他说我们中国要加速转型创新,要以科技创新为驱动,推动能源资源产业结构消费结构转型升级,推动经济社会绿色发展,探索发展和保护相协同的新路径,这个任务相当艰巨。 

A: Indeed, it will be quite a short time for China to move from carbon peaking to carbon neutrality. It is a demonstration of our effort and ambition. But on the other hand, this also presents an arduous task and a huge challenge for us. That is why we need to promote transition and innovation. President Xi especially stressed in his written statement that we need to accelerate our transition driven by technological innovation and stressed the importance to harness innovation in science and technology to transform and upgrade hour energy and resources sectors, as well as the industrial sector and consumption pattern, promote a greener economy and society and explore a new pathway forward that coordinate development and conservation. 

除了有这么要求,我们有具体的行动.最近我们又发布了一个实现达峰和碳中和的一个指导意见,37条。这37条对各个领域、各个行业都提出了明确的路径、时间、目标、政策、措施、行动的要求。这样的话就真正地把全社会动员起来,实现经济社会的整体上的变革。应该说这个任务是相当艰巨的。投入,我刚才讲了,有的机构估算是138万亿,最近有一个机构估算400多万亿。总之需要大量的投资,但是关键是需要技术、要技术创新。这一点现在我们科技部专门发布了一个中国要在实现双碳目标,在技术创新上要采取哪些政策措施和研发一些什么样的技术。最近我听说我们中科院已经搞出来,碳CCUS,也就是把二氧化碳变成淀粉。如果这些技术逐步地都出现了之后,其实这些目标的实现,我们愿意和大家共享,实现整体上的目标。

These are the requirements from President Xi Jinping. And now we have already taken concrete actions to implement these requirements. For instance, we recently released a guiding opinion on achieving carbon peaking to carbon neutrality with 37 articles to clearly identify our roadmap, timetable, target, and specific actions. In a series of areas, we will have a holistic transformation in our economy and society. 

It will be hard work. And the investment to do this work, the money needed to do this work, will also be huge. According to the estimation of one institution, it will be 138 trillion RMB and another institution estimated it to be around 400 trillion RMB. Of course, Money is important, but the more important is for us to have technological innovation. Recently the Ministry of Science and Technology of China released a document to state the policies and measures to be taken to encourage technological innovation so that we can achieve our carbon peaking to carbon neutrality target. Recently there is a new technology developed by the Chinese Academy of Science, which is to turn captured CO2 into starch. With those technologies available, we are willing to share them with the whole world and promote the achieving of the global overall target.

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9 CNN

Q: I’m with CNN. We say that the goal of limiting global warming preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius is a goal for the world and not individual countries. But as you see, as developing countries, do you not agree that the people of China, as well as the people in developing countries all over the world, would be real sure to see China finally advocate that aim for the world instead of being resistant?

Q: 我是CNN的记者。您刚才说1.5度的目标,它是一个全球的目标,而不是每个国家的国家的目标,那么中国,我知道您也经常说是发展中国家,会做出什么样的倡议,而不是说光是来反对1.5度的目标。

A: 我没有反对1.5度的目标,巴黎协定的目标就包括了1.5度,我怎么能够反对呢?所以我们谈问题还是要基于规则。巴黎协定规定了两度以内,争取1.5度,所以我说这就是巴黎协定目标,我们不反对1.5度。关键是怎么样实现1.5度的目标,这是第一个问题。第二个问题,我参加了十几年的谈判,大家得非常明确,我们所讨论的问题全是整体的目标,并不包括国别的目标。国别目标怎么确定?根据它的共同的有区别的责任原则,根据它的国情,它的能力,它的起点,来确定一个有力度的目标。所以这样的话,整体目标即使我们将来的5年的盘点,也是盘点的整体目标、整体的情况和目标的差距,然后大家怎么样落实行动和支持相匹配的原则,最后来争取达到目标。全是讨论的是多边机制,是讨论的整体的目标,然后各国根据自己的国情自主决定自己的贡献,但是这个贡献我刚才讲了,应该是尽自己最大的努力。

A: I do not resist the 1.5℃ target. It is a part of the Paris Agreement goals actually. (How would I resist that?)  When talking about the global climate goals, we need to be based on rules. Since 1.5℃ is a part of the Paris goals, I certainly will not be against this target. What I stressed here is that the world needs to focus on how to implement this 1.5℃ target. I have been involved in international climate negotiations for more than 10 years, as I said, and I want to tell you that whenever we talk about temperature goals, these are goals for the whole world, not for any individual country. The goals for each country are set by these individual countries based on the principles of CBDR and also based on the national capabilities, circumstances, and starting point. Even for the global stocktaking that will take place 5 years from now, what the world will do is to evaluate the gap between the world's aggregated progress and the overall target and then determine how to improve our action and support to achieve the overall global goal. Of course, the national targets are set and need to demonstrate the biggest possible effort of each individual country.

关于目标的表述。中美应对气候危机联合声明,有中欧的联合公报,也有一个目标的表述,G20部长级会,这次的G20会也有关于目标的表述,这些表述不是中国能够左右的,是大家讨论之后确定了应对气候变化的目标。所以这个目标这些公报里边都有了,查一查就知道了,中国并不反对。 

Actually, these targets have already been reflected in the joint statement between China and the US, the joint communique between China and the EU, and the ministerial declaration, environment and climate ministerial declaration of the G20 and G20 leaders summit. This wording on the global temperature goal are decided not only by China but through extensive discussions among all parties. (You are welcome to check it out, China is not against the target.)

我们希望COP26对这个目标能够取得共识,还是要在巴黎协定这个基础之上,能够找到大家共同努力的方向。 

What we want to see from COP26 is reaffirm the Paris temperature goal. And on the basis of that, we can find a direction for our future work.

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10 Reuters

解先生你好,我是路透社记者Jake Spring。可以的话我用中文先提问题,然后我用英文。

(Jake Spring from Reuters saying if possible he would first raise his question in Chinese and then repeat it in English.)

好,更好了。Good, that’s even better.

所以关于昨天习主席讲话的方式,我们都知道他有书面声明。 可是辩论里中国就要用视频来发言,可是英国不允许中国做。所以我的问题就是这个有没有影响到最后习主席要说的内容,还是如果他用视频来说会更强。

My question is if Xi Jinping’s statement yesterday...if originally China wanted to give a video statement but was only allowed by the UK to give it in writing. I’m wondering if the written statement was weaker. Then a video statement would have been…?

你这个问题最近媒体也都在说这件事,实际上习主席因为国内工作日程安排的原因,不能来参加COP26.但是他对气候变化非常重视,从去年的9月到现在,他已经发表了7次、8次有关气候变化的讲话。这次会上他也非常希望能够把中国的声音表达出来,所以我们也在商量,跟主席国跟秘书处,能不能够用视频的方式,或者是派他的,我作为他的代表,能够作为代表,代替他宣读一下。最后因为会议安排的原因,他没有办法,我们只能以书面的这么一个形式来表达出来了,现在网上已经公布了,而且我们已经把我们文字的讲话发到各个代表团,广泛地散发,这样的话也能够把中国的声音这个表达出来。所以我们希望应对气候变化多边进程这么重要的一个事,所以各个国家他也可能来、也可能因为国内原因不能来,都应该大家把自己的声音表达出来,这也是对大会的支持。 

This is a question actually that has been asked by many other media recently. Due to his busy domestic schedule, President Xi cannot attend the World Leaders Summit and COP26 physically. However, he pays high attention to addressing climate change and has already made 7 to 8 statements on climate change from September last year to now. We have actually discussed with the UK government as the host and the UNFCCC secretariat to see whether (using a video or) I can read President Xi's statement on the summit on his behalf. But due to the requirements of the host that was not possible. Nevertheless, the written statement is now available online and we have already circulated it to all the delegations participating in COP26. What we want is to make our voice heard. I think in this process, we are also demonstrating our support to this COP.

这个非常高兴今天跟中外的最主要的媒体见面,跟大家交流。大家问题都提完了,如果你们还有什么问题随时可以来找我了,我们的大门是开着的,你们有问题我就愿意跟你们来讨论,中国完全开放,在这一点上,公开透明,你们有什么问题尽管来谈,尽管来提,好,谢谢大家。 

Thank you. It’s my great pleasure to have this news briefing, engaging all the major media in the world. I think we have finished all the questions here. If there are any more questions, please come to our China office. Our door is always all open to you. China has a very open and transparent attitude and we are willing to discuss any questions you may have in the future. Thank you for your time.

***

Again, many thanks to 廖宸婕 Larissa Chenjie Liao, a junior student in Guangzhou-based Sun Yat-sen University and contributor to Yang Liu’s Beijing Channel newsletter, who spent hours helping transcribe the audio recording.

A guest post by
Political science student at Sun Yat-sen University.