COP26: China urges US to look at its own record on climate action after Biden condemns Xi’s absence

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China’s ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday harshly criticised the United States over its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and its back-pedalling on climate policies after President Joe Biden condemned Chinese and Russian leaders for not taking part in the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

Zhang Jun wrote on Twitter that countries needed to make “firm commitment and continued actions” in tackling climate change, instead of conveying “empty slogans” and ever-changing policies.

“China has been earnestly supporting #ClimateAction. We are not the one who withdrew from the #ParisAgreement,” Zhang tweeted.

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“The US however has back-pedalled its climate policies many times. Instead of blame shifting, what it should do now is to shoulder responsibility and take concrete actions.”

He also responded to criticism about the absence of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the climate summit, saying China had delegations attending the meeting and the country had published climate action plans and policies.

“The Chinese leader addressed the meeting to share China’s solution to climate change. The Chinese delegation attended the meeting in person,” he tweeted.

“China has announced its carbon peak & neutrality targets, and released action plan and policies. Our achievements are widely recognised.”

COP26: Over 100 countries vow to slash methane emissions

Last week, China issued plans for its path towards peak carbon emissions by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The documents listed several sectors intended to reach peak emissions by 2030, including steel, non-ferrous metals, building materials and petrochemicals. Meanwhile, China will start cutting coal consumption from 2026 and its oil consumption is expected to reach a plateau during 2026-30.

Zhang’s comments came after Biden lashed out at Chinese and Russian leaders for their absence at the Glasgow climate summit.

“I think it’s been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China — with respect to China not showing up,” Biden said in a press conference at the end of the second day of COP26.

“They’ve lost an ability to influence people around the world and all the people here at COP — the same way, I would argue, with regard to Russia,” he said.

Xi has not left China since the outbreak of Covid-19 almost two years ago. Instead, he gave a brief statement to the COP26 conference on Monday, in which he called for cooperation to be stepped up and for a focus on concrete actions.

Handy guide to key facts and terms at COP26 Glasgow

Chinese negotiators and diplomats emphasised the importance of acting on climate promises in the face of criticism of Beijing over a lack of ambitious new climate targets.

China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua told reporters at the COP26 on Tuesday that China was at a special development stage and was already “making our biggest possible effort to address climate change”.

“We do not only make promises. We honour our promises with real action,” Xie said.

This article COP26: China urges US to look at its own record on climate action after Biden condemns Xi’s absence first appeared on South China Morning Post

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