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Changhua Wu

22 November 2012
Changhua Wu

The Chinese Government released its 2012 White Paper on Climate Change in Beijing today. Minister Xie Zhenhua hosted a Press Conference, of which Changhua Wu, our Greater China Director was invited to speak live on China 24 Hours for CCTV Studio.

  • According to the Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the only path for China to choose, is one that stresses green energy and low carbon emissions. What’s your take on that?

I think green growth and low carbon growth have become the consensus of China, not only for the political leaders, but also for the country in general.

This consensus comes from the fact that China’s growth is heavily constrained by natural resources including water, energy, land among others. And also actually, if I look at economic ecological foot prints that have far succeded current capacity of environment.

I’m delighted to see the new generations of leaders in China are more than ever committed to continue the clean revolution in China, and I believe more aggressive actions will be put together to achieve set targets around the energy and clean revolution.

  • China’s carbon emission intensity is expected to drop by 40-45% by 2020. What does China have to overcome to accomplish that goal?

I wouldn’t say it’s an easy task for all targets at that level. I think it's one major step towards a clean future. There is no doubt it. But in order to do so, there are three things crucial to achieve the target.

One is saving energy and the second is reducing reliance on coal. Third is to scale-up rapidly renewable energy.

In order to achieve those targets, clear direction is required from policy makers at both national and local levels to put the right policy incentives together to drive innovation.

Also business and society must work together with the government to invest in clean energy as well as to deploy and adopt clean energy solutions.

I believe that with all of these efforts coming together, China will be able to achieve the set targets by 2020.

  • One of the most important issues at the Doha Climate Conference is to settle the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (KP). What difficulties will the countries be facing ahead of attempting to settle that?

How to interpret the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibility remains to be a major difference among the parties. Back in the early 1990s, the Annex I countries’ emissions accounted for 55% of global emissions, but it is now 15%. With the rising contribution of emissions from large emerging economies and also their rising economic power, industrialized countries are trying very hard to reset the principle. And this cannot be accepted by developing countries because historic responsibility has been the major cause of climate change - that shall not be neglected in the international process.

With some of the umbrella countries, in particular US (never having been in the KP), New Zealand and Japan withdrawing from the second commitment period and Canada totally withdrawing from the Convention, it is becoming increasingly challenging to secure the second commitment period.

Back to the foundation of the international process; respecting CBCR principle will be critical for international community to honor the commitments made by different parties, which will lay a more solid foundation and also the trust needed to negotiate a new framework that would have all the parties coming together to address climate challenges.

  • Developed countries were supposed to provide financial aid to the developing world, known as the 'Green Climate Fund' which was planed in Durban last year. But some developed countries haven’t fulfilled their commitment yet. How must we deal with that?

Commitment is commitment that has to be delivered, without which the international process would not have the required trust and foundation for multilateral cooperation, and the global climate challenge won’t be addressed effectively. At this moment, the international mechanism does not include specific liability articles to penalize countries that have failed to delivered their commitment. Therefore, there is no effective solution to this problem.

The financial crisis has not helped with this situation either. And this poses more daunting challenges for industrialized countries to allocate the due public financing to support developing countries to tackle climate change challenges.

Failure to honor and deliver their commitment by industrialized countries, puts the international process of climate change at great risk of collapsing. Therefore, Doha becomes a critical moment to test the level of sincerity on the many industrialized countries, in taking their due leadership and deliver their commitment to address such a daunting global challenge as climate change.

Watch a video of this interview.

Read Changhua Wu's blog.

Damian Ryan, Senior Policy Manager, The Climate Group, will be writing news and analysis and live-tweeting throughout COP18, and providing a more in-depth post-COP Briefing after the events. Keep up to date on our website and by following him on Twitter during COP18. 

In up to and during Doha we are also posting a series of articles featuring analysis from our teams in Europe, China, India and Australia on their nations' COP negotiating positions. Read our pre-COP18 briefing paper now.

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