China, India back global climate deal

19 May 2015

China and India issued a statement underscoring the importance of working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious, comprehensive, universal, balanced and equitable climate agreement in Paris later this year.

Li and Modi - 15 May 2015 - 460 (Chinese government)
Prime Minister Modi and Premier Li meet in Beijing (Image: Chinese government)

Both countries are looking to nuclear energy as one means of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. China and India together account for the majority of planned new reactors, as well as those under construction. In addition to 26 units already in operation, China has 24 reactors under construction and has plans to build more than 40 others. India has 21 operating reactors, six under construction and plans for a further 35 units.

A joint statement on climate change was released on 15 May during a visit by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to China where he met Chinese premier Li Keqiang.

India and China "recognize that climate change and its adverse effects are the common concern of mankind and one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century, which needs to be addressed through international cooperation in the context of sustainable development," the statement said.

The two countries signed a cooperation agreement on addressing climate change in 2009 and a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on cooperation on green technologies in 2010. According to last week's statement, they will "further promote bilateral partnership on climate change and enhance the role of this partnership in their overall strategic cooperation partnership through the implementation of this joint statement and the MOU as well as the agreement."

They will work together, and with other countries, to reach a "comprehensive, balance, equitable and effective agreement" under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. The 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) is set to be held in Paris at the end of the year.

An agreement was reached last December at climate change talks in Lima that all countries will submit details of their post-2020 plans to tackle climate change by the end of October 2015. The agreement also calls for developed countries to provide support to developing countries in meeting their commitments.

In their statement, China and India "urged the developed countries to raise their pre-2020 emission reduction targets and honour their commitment to provide $100 billion per year by 2020 to developing countries."

The two countries said they are "undertaking ambitious actions domestically on combating climate change through plans, policies and measures on mitigation and adaptation despite the enormous scale of their challenges in terms of social and economic development and poverty eradication."

China announced plans last November to achieve the peaking of CO2 emissions around 2030 and "to make best efforts to peak early." It also intends to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to some 20% by 2030.

India has yet to announce its plans.

India and China said they will enhance high-level bilateral dialogue on domestic climate policies and multilateral negotiations and further strengthen cooperation in areas including clean energy technologies, energy conservation and energy efficiency.

Today, German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Francois Hollande issued a joint statement calling for all countries to submit "ambitious and transparent" contributions to the global agreement. They noted that their countries are committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% in 2050 compared to 1990.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News