Climate on the agenda in Samoa and China meeting

By Marc Membrere
By Marc Membrere

Climate Journalist

China accounts for 27 per cent of global emissions, making them the highest world emitter. Despite this, Chinas Foreign Minister Wang Yi expressed his hopes to step up the countries lagging climate commitments.

During his recent visit to Samoa, Minister Yi discussed climate change with Samoan Prime Minister Hon. Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

According to Mata’afa, the discussions centered around Chinas “timing” on climate action. Prime Minister Mata’afa indicated that Chinas journey to industrialization and their current emissions will require the same level to decrease emissions.

“So their targets are more towards 2050 as opposed to a lot of countries are talking 2030, 2040,” Fiame said.

“But I think he was saying that realistically for them to make that come back from where their level of industrialisation and I suppose investment is at.

“I am pleased at least they are now making those commitments in terms of time which had not previously been clear.”

A report by Research Institute Rhodium Group estimated that global emissions reached 52 gigatons of C02 equivalent in 2019 which was an 11.4 percent increase over the past decade. The repot also found that China alone contributed over 27 per cent of total global emissions.

In 2020, China’s President Xi Jinping revealed that they aim to peak c02 emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.

An approach on ending the climate crisis was also mentioned by President Xi Jinping in his written statement to COP26 held in Glasgow last year. President Xi in his statement emphasized that impacts of the climate crisis is evident, and response to them are challenges of our time.

“Guided by the vision of a community of life for a man and Nature, China will continue to prioritize ecological conservation and pursue a green  and low-carbon path to development,” President Xi said.

“We will foster a green, low-carbon and circular economic system at a faster pace, press ahead with industrial structure adjustment, and rein in the irrational development of energy-intensive and high-emissions projects.

“We will speed up the transition to green and low-carbon energy, and plan and buiold large wind and photovoltaic power stations.”

However Beijing’s move into the Pacific with climate change on the agenda did not go unnoticed by Canberra.

The newly appointed Foreign Minister of Australia Penny Wong visited Fiji recently where she assured it Pacific neighbors that Australia will be there to stand together with the Pacific.

The race between China and Australia for dominance in the region not only involves politics, but also climate.

With Beijing making its statement that it will address the climate crisis, Australia’s Foreign Minister announced in Fiji that they will end the climate crisis.

“The Albanese Government was elected on a platform of reducing carbon emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050,” Foreign Minister Penny Wong told the Pacific Islands Forum (P.I.F.) last week.

“We won’t just say this – we will enshrine it in law and submit a new Nationally Determined Contribution to the UNFCCC very soon.”

She also told their Pacific neighbors that their Government will end the climate wars in Australia.

“This is a different Australian Government,” she said.

“We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Pacific family in response to this crisis.”

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