China signals steady course after UN climate warning

Beijing (AFP) –


China insisted Tuesday it was implementing its climate commitments, while signalling no new policies following a UN report warning much more urgent action was needed to fight global warming.

Many world leaders responded to Monday's report, which said climate change was occurring faster than estimated, by calling for decisive and immediate moves to curtail fossil fuels.

When asked for a response to the report, China's foreign ministry emphasised the government's current policies and commitments.

"China has insisted on prioritising sustainable, green and low-carbon development," a spokesperson told AFP in a statement.

The Chinese government has set a target of reaching peak carbon emissions by 2030, and becoming carbon neutral by 2060.

The statement referenced the carbon neutrality target, and said the global community should have full confidence in China's climate actions.

China has been criticised for pushing ahead with opening dozens of new coal power plants to ensure economic growth.

The statement said President Xi Jinping intended to "strictly control" the growth of coal power plants.

But it pointed to a continued increase in the next few years, saying that coal consumption would start to gradually reduce from 2026.

The report, from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned that global warming would reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels around 2030.

That level of global warming will have devastating impacts on humanity, including more extreme weather events such as fires, typhoons, droughts and floods.