China might be the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases but the success of the Paris climate conference depends on whether developed western countries were willing take the lead, a hard-hitting comment piece in state media said on Sunday.
It said western efforts to cut down emission have been frustrating till now. China, it said was an important stakeholder but the success of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) depended on western nations.
The focus in the COP, of course, will be on what President Xi Jinping has to say about China’s contribution to fight against climate change.
“The more infuriating part is that with all the stubbornness and importunity, some developed nations have turned around to point an accusing finger at the developing countries, blaming them for blocking the birth of a new international treaty,” the comment piece published in the official news agency Xinhua said. Ironically, as Xi left for Paris on Sunday to attend the climate conference, Beijing and surrounding areas have been shrouded in heavy smog, reducing visibility to few hundred metres.
Much of the smog in winter is blamed on the need for coal-fired central heating in large swaths of northern China.
The Chinese government has said it will be shutting down polluting industries and have put in place vehicular restrictions in cities like Beijing.
“Even faced with economic downturn pressure, China has been unswervingly committed to fighting global warming, in positive response to the global endeavors in this aspect.
Although it is and will still be a developing country for a long time to come, China has pioneered the world’s emission reduction effort by ranking first on several fronts such as wind power,” the Xinhua commentary said. In June, China submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in which it promised to cut its carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 60-65 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
It has also issued joint statements on climate change with the US, India, Brazil, the European Union and France.
“In stark contrast to China’s generosity and dedication, the Western performance in mitigating the consequences of climate change has been frustrating to date,” the commentary added.