COP26 president Alok Sharma has told China that the choices the country makes on coal “will shape our shared future”.
The cabinet minister, who is leading the UK government’s efforts ahead of the COP26 international climate change summit in Glasgow in November, has this week held talks with leading Chinese officials.
In his two days of discussions in the city of Tianjin, Mr Sharma held a series of meetings with China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua.
The pair discussed President’s Xi Jinping’s commitments for China to be carbon neutral by 2060, to have its emissions peak before 2030 and to reduce the country’s use of coal.
They also talked about China’s investment in renewable energy and the country’s large market for zero-emissions vehicles.
During his trip, Mr Sharma met virtually with other senior ministers – including vice premier Han Zheng and People’s Bank of China governor Yi Gang.
He said the “constructive discussions” were “nothing short of crucial” as “time is running out to prevent a climate catastrophe”.
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But Mr Sharma also told China that questions remained over how fast they would act on their climate pledges.
“The commitments President Xi has made over the last year are welcome and China’s pledge to tackle climate change as a shared mission for humanity is encouraging,” he said.
“The choices that China makes, on their energy mix, and on coal specifically, will shape our shared future.
“The question that remains is how fast they put these into action, along with other major emitters.
“I look forward to more detailed plans being published setting out how China’s targets will be met.
“The clock is running down fast and the next decade will be decisive. All countries need to pick up the pace on driving down emissions and safeguarding people and nature from the worst effects of climate change.”
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