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Climate change

China to ratify Paris climate deal by September

China will finalise domestic procedures on its accession before the G20 Hangzhou summit, vice-premier says

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 April, 2016, 12:31am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 April, 2016, 12:31am

China, one of the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases, would ratify by September the Paris deal to slow climate change, Chinese Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Friday.

“We will make early accession to the Paris agreement. China will finalise domestic legal procedures on its accession before the G20 Hangzhou summit in September this year,” Zhang told a signing ceremony for the Paris deal at the United Nations. “We will work hard to earnestly implement the Paris Agreement.”

As many as 170 countries were expected to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change on Friday as the landmark deal takes a key step toward entering into force years ahead of schedule.

“We will launch a national emission trade market, substantially increase forest carbon sinks. We will put in place a strict accountability system for environmental protection and ensure the implementation of all targets,” said Zhang, who attended the event as the special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China will face pressure to do more if climate goals ‘too easy’: US official

Many now expect the climate agreement to enter into force long before the original deadline of 2020. Some say it could happen this year.

After signing, countries must formally approve the Paris Agreement through their domestic procedures. The United Nations says at least 13 countries are expected to do that Friday by depositing their instruments of ratification.

The agreement will enter into force once 55 countries representing at least 55 per cent of global emissions have formally joined it. The United States and China, which together account for nearly 40 per cent of global emissions, have said they intend to join this year.

China’s climate envoy bullish on hitting reduction goal for 2020

“We definitely want to be in the first wave of ratifying countries,” Maros Sefcovic, the energy chief for another top emitter, the 28-nation European Union, said on Thursday.

Countries that had not yet indicated they would sign the agreement on Friday include some of the world’s largest oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria and Kazakhstan, the World Resources Institute said.

The Paris Agreement, the world’s response to hotter temperatures, rising seas and other impacts of climate change, was reached in December as a major breakthrough in UN climate negotiations, which for years were slowed by disputes between rich and poor countries over who should do what.

Under the agreement, countries set their own targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The targets are not legally binding, but countries must update them every five years.

Reuters, Associated Press