Ambassador Qin Gang Has a Dialogue with Chinese and American students on Climate Change
2021/11/02 22:00

On November 2, the "Global Action Initiative 2021—Climate Change" climate week special event hosted by CGTN was launched. Ambassador Qin Gang attended the opening ceremony online and had a dialogue with Chinese and American students. He answered questions on climate change raised by students from New York, San Francisco, Washington DC and Chinese universities, including Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University and Beijing Normal University (Full text of the dialogue here).

When asked what Chinese leaders have done to address climate change, and how the Chinese government reduces automobile pollution and mitigates climate change, Ambassador Qin Gang said, Chinese leaders attach great importance to climate change. In September last year, President Xi announced that China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. President Xi gave a comprehensive and systematic account of the vision of building a “Community of life for man and Nature” at the Leaders Summit on Climate last April. As we speak, the COP26 is taking place in Glasgow. At the summit, President Xi called upon all parties to uphold multilateral consensus, focus on concrete actions and accelerate green transition, in our united action to tackle climate change and protect the planet, our shared home.

Ambassador Qin Gang said, China has been making hard efforts to reduce vehicle emissions and encouraging green transport. China’s industry of new energy vehicles (NEV) has developed tremendously, with a total of 6 million new energy vehicles. The Chinese government also encourages people to go green in transport. Beijing Winter Olympics will be the first Olympics in history to use all green and clean energy. Green will be the most prominent color of Beijing Winter Olympics.

When asked what are the common and differentiated responsibilities of China and the United States in climate change, and what plans China has to cooperate with the United States to jointly address climate change, Ambassador Qin Gang said, addressing climate change is the shared mission of all countries, but developed and developing countries have different responsibilities. Developing countries need to develop their economies and improve people’s livelihoods. Developed countries should shoulder more responsibilities on climate change and fulfill their promise of providing financial and technological support to developing countries. As main actors on climate change, both China and the United States should first rely on themselves to fulfill their nationally determined contributions. The United States is a top student, but it also has a record of skipping classes and withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. If it wants to score high in future tests, it should not skip classes, or hand in its homework late any more.

Ambassador Qin Gang said, China will strive to peak its carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China will experience the world’s most intensive carbon emission reduction. To achieve this goal, as a developing country, China needs to pay greater prices and efforts than the United States. Addressing climate change requires close cooperation among countries, including China and the United States. We have issued a Joint Statement Addressing the Climate Crisis, reiterating that we will strengthen cooperation. We are also working together for a successful COP26. We have huge potential for cooperation in electric vehicles, renewable energy, green finance, and digital economy. These are areas where our two sides can effectively cooperate. We can also jointly help those countries that are vulnerable to climate impact, and carry out third-party cooperation to improve their capability against climate change. We hope that our two countries will take the COP26 as an opportunity, bear in mind the interests of all mankind, rise above the “political microclimate” that hinders our cooperation, and lead global efforts to counter the warming “global climate”.

When asked if there is a way for the younger generation to participate widely in tackling climate change, and if the exchanges and cooperation between young Chinese and American students can be strengthened, Ambassador Qin Gang said, climate change is a common challenge for all mankind. Our future depends on the choices and efforts of each of us, especially the younger generation. Young people are involved in and benefit from the efforts to counter climate change. You should also advocate for and lead in building an ecological civilization. I see that more and more young people in China and America regard the “low-carbon youth” as the new “cool” and new “fashion”. I hope that young people around the world can all start to act from small things, from yourselves and from your daily life, join in such efforts, advocate for and shape a green lifestyle, so that everyone can do his or her part. I believe that the talents, dedication and hard work of the young generation will converge into a tremendous force to protect our shared home on Earth, and deliver a bright future of the world! I myself and the Chinese Embassy in the US will support and help Chinese and American youths to have more communication.

The climate week special event will last for 5 days. Shen Haixiong, Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and President of China Media Group (CMG), delivered an opening speech. Sierra Leone President Bio, Icelandic Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir and other state leaders, as well as officials from international organizations, such as the United Nations and the World Wide Fund for Nature, attended the event.

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