Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Enhancing global climate governance

By Zou Ji (China Daily) Updated: 2014-09-24 07:53

UN Climate Summit was an opportunity to create constructive atmosphere to reach a new multilateral legal agreement next year

The UN Climate Summit, held in New York on Tuesday, was not regarded as part of the negotiations for the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015, which is supposed to reach a new multilateral legal agreement to enhance the implementation of the convention, rather an opportunity to create a constructive and cooperative political atmosphere for the parties to express their political will and enhanced pledges to address climate change.

Prior to the summit, there was a debate on global climate governance, about whether and how the principles and provisions of the convention should be reflected in the 2015 agreement. In fact, this is a matter of defining the responsibilities of both developed and developing countries.

According to the latest assessment report by the Intergovernmental Penal on Climate Change, around 70 percent of the accumulated emissions of energy related carbon dioxide in the world is from developed countries with minor population percentages. In addition, industrialized countries have transferred and intensified their high-carbon production to developing countries by means of international trade and FDI in the context of globalization. While developed countries celebrate the decline of their share of emissions, and even the absolute amount of greenhouse gas emissions within their territories, they criticize emerging developing economies, such as China, for their increasing share of emissions and absolute amount of emissions.

However, the developed countries should not ignore their historic responsibilities for emissions or the contemporary transfer of their high carbon production and lifestyles. Nor should they impose emissions caps on developing countries without serious consideration of how these countries can access sustainable development in terms of poverty reduction, urbanization and infrastructure construction.

The climate challenge has been derived from a development model that relies on fossil fuel use. This means the solution to address climate change needs to come from a new development model that depends on a more varied energy mix, energy efficiency improvements through technological advances, and the restructuring of economies, as well as appropriate policy and institutional arrangements aimed at changing stakeholders' behavior.

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