Acknowledging that the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement would hurt efforts to raise financial resources to fight climate change, China has said it was the responsibility of other developed countries to enhance their contribution and fill the gap that would arise.
“We already have a finance gap, and because of the withdrawal of the United States, which has also indicated that it might not fulfil its financial obligations, the gap will only become bigger… I still do not have the calculations how big this gap would be if the US decides to cut off its contribution in terms of finance, but I hope that other developed countries would honour their own promises and continue to enhance (their financial) support to the developing countries,” China’s negotiator Chen Zhihua told reporters at the climate change conference here.
Developed countries have promised to raise at least $100 billion every year from 2020 to help developing countries deal with the impacts of climate change. The decision of the US to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement has raised fears that the developed countries might not be able to fulfil this promise. China said there was no option but the other developed countries stepping in.
“Our understanding is that the obligation to raise financial resources and provide support to the developing countries is a collective obligation on the part of developed countries. We hope that all other developed countries would enhance their contributions and fill the gap that might be created (because of US pulling out of Paris Agreement). Also, local governments (in the US) and some (US) corporates can play a role (in raising financial resources),” Gu Zihua, deputy director in the climate change office of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said.
Some city mayors and governors of states in the US have been critical of the federal government’s decision to pull out and have become part of a wider citizen and NGO network that is still swearing by the agreement, using a tagline ‘We Are Still In’. This network has set up a US Climate Action Centre at the conference venue here and is organising events to showcase the actions being taken at the sub-national level by cities, businesses and NGOs. On Saturday, California Governor Jerry Brown joined former mayor of New York city Michael Bloomberg and others in releasing a report detailing these efforts.
Chinese negotiators said their own country would also chip in with money to help developing countries as it had promised to do in Paris in 2015. “We abide by our promise and we will make our contribution through south-south cooperation to help other developing countries,” Gu Zihua said.
In response to demands by developed countries in Paris that more capable developing nations like China should also contribute, China had said it was willing to make “voluntary” contributions but that would be separate from the $100 billion pledge that was the sole responsibility of the developed countries.