China tries to recast itself as a global leader in climate-change fight

On Monday, the presidents of France and China stood side by side to emphasize their commitment to tackling climate change, agreeing that countries signing on to a proposed global climate pact should take stock of their progress every five years with a view to regularly ratcheting up their emissions-cutting targets.


French President François Hollande called Monday’s announcement a major, historic step that “laid down the conditions for success” at global climate talks due to start in Paris in four weeks. Greenpeace termed it incremental progress that highlighted the “ambition gap” the world still needs to bridge.


Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country was making “unceasing efforts” in the fight against climate change. Greenpeace acknowledged that China was now showing leadership on the issue but added that Beijing’s leaders still needed to think hard about what more they can bring to the table over the next four weeks.


Ahead of a United Nations conference in Paris due to begin next month, France is proposing countries’ emissions targets be automatically updated every five years. In Monday’s statement, China appeared to broadly back that concept, with the two sides agreeing that countries should “take stock” every five years of their progress in reaching long-term goals, with a view to “regularly enhancing their actions in a nationally determined manner.”


China, reluctant to submit to any external monitoring of what it is up to, has in the past proposed that any checks on compliance to agreed cuts should be “non-intrusive, non-punitive and respecting national sovereignty.” Again, Monday’s joint statement appeared to inch the language forward, talking about the need for “an enhanced transparency system to build mutual trust and confidence” and calling for both “reporting and review” of what countries have done.


Read More: China tries to recast itself as a global leader in climate-change fight – The Washington Post