Beijing, Nov 2 (PTI): Amid intense speculation over Chinese President Xi Jinping’s absence at the COP26 summit at Glasgow, China on Tuesday alleged that the organisers did not provide a video link for him to address the meeting, prompting him to send a written statement instead.
Xi Jinping, who skipped the World Leaders Summit at the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow, sent a written statement to highlight China’s stand on climate-related issues.
In his written statement to the COP26, Xi Jinping called on all countries to take “stronger actions” to jointly tackle the climate challenge and proposed a three-pronged plan of reaching multilateral consensus, focusing on concrete actions and accelerating the green transition to reduce carbon emissions.
Asked why the President chose to send a written statement, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, “As I understand it, the conference organisers did not provide the video link method”.
Xi Jinping, 68, has not travelled out of China since he returned from his official visit to Myanmar in the middle of January, 2020. Instead, he has been addressing global events through video links.
Besides Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin also chose to skip the all-important global climate meet, highlighting the emerging China-Russia strategic tie-up against the Biden-led US-EU alliance.
The absence of the top leader from China, which is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases besides the US, sparked off speculation about Beijing’s climate commitment amid official media reports that it is seeking to link climate cooperation to the improvement of strained ties with the US.
Ahead of the COP26 summit, China has submitted its updated emissions reduction commitment – Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – to the United Nations last Thursday, which climate activists termed as modest and said it failed to improve China’s ambition by much.
The updated document includes Xi Jinping’s pledge last September that China will reach peak carbon emissions before 2030 and achieve neutrality, also known as net-zero, before 2060.
Compared with China’s previous NDC in 2016, there are also higher commitments to reducing emissions by 2030, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
The previous goal to increase China’s share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption has been raised from 20 per cent to 25 per cent.
China also aims to reduce carbon intensity, measured as emissions per unit of GDP, by 65 per cent on 2005 levels, another five per cent increase on its 2016 pledge.
In his written address to the COP26, Xi Jinping said, “I hope all parties will take stronger actions to jointly tackle the climate challenge and protect the planet, the shared home for us all.”
The adverse impacts of climate change have become increasingly evident, presenting a growing urgency for global action, he said, making a three-pronged proposal to address the climate challenge, including upholding multilateral consensus, focusing on concrete actions, and accelerating the green transition.
“When it comes to global challenges such as climate change, multilateralism is the right prescription,” Xi Jinping said.
He stressed the responsibility of developed countries in tackling climate change and added that China will speed up the green and low-carbon energy transition, vigorously develop renewable energy, and plan and build large wind and photovoltaic power stations.