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11 December 2023

China has potential to lead world in turning goals of Paris Agreement into a solid and durable reality: Dr. Sultan Al Jaber


Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate, today, addressed the High-level Forum on Green Development in Beijing where he praised China’s climate leadership and action, while noting more is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. “China has the potential to lead the world in turning the goals of Paris into a solid and durable reality,” Dr Al Jaber said.

In his speech, the COP28 President-Designate praised China for “driving green growth not just in Belt and Road countries, but around the world.”

The high-level forum took place at the 3rd BRI Forum for International Cooperation, during which President Xi Jinping committed to push for further clean cooperation and additional green development funds. The Chinese President set out how the country will continue supporting South-South cooperation, as he outlined training support for 100,000 people from across the developing world.

While noting China’s successes, Dr. Al Jaber highlighted that the Global Stocktake has shown that the world is falling behind on its climate ambitions and needs to cut 22 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions in the next seven years in order to keep 1.5°C in reach.

“The world can only succeed if all countries, all companies, all stakeholders work together. As the Belt and Road Initiative has shown over the last 10 years, we can achieve great things through partnership and collaboration,” he said.

To meet the goals and ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement, "We need a practical plan to translate the Paris Agreement into a realistic roadmap that the whole world can follow,” Dr. Al Jaber said. “The COP28 team has listened to and engaged with many people from all walks of life to develop a plan based on four pillars.”

The four pillars of the COP28 Presidency’s Action Agenda are fast tracking a just and orderly energy transition, fixing climate finance, focusing on people, lives, and livelihoods, and underpinning everything with full inclusivity. The COP28 President went on to outline his Action Agenda and China’s critical role in making each of them a success.

On the first pillar of delivering a just and orderly energy transition that leaves no one behind. “China is the powerhouse that can make it happen,” Dr. Al Jaber said.

He described how “Three-quarters of the world’s solar panels, 60 percent of all wind turbines and most of the world’s lithium-ion batteries come from China.”

Dr. Al Jaber continued by stating that China’s oil and gas companies “are also vital to bringing critical mass to COP28’s goal of ending menthane emissions by 2030.”

He added that the “country’s steel, cement and aluminium companies- representing 60 per cent of global production- are pivotal in our drive to decarbonize heavy emitting industries.
In short, China has the potential to lead the world in turning the goals of Paris into a solid and durable reality.”

On the second pillar of fixing climate finance, Dr. Al Jaber called on contributing countries to live up to their responsibilities. “The 100-billion-dollar pledge must be fulfilled,” he said, “Nice words won’t do it. The Global South needs to see it actually happen.”

He added, “Private capital must play a far more prominent. And the entire international financial system must be modernized to make finance more available, accessible and affordable to the Global South.”

On the third pillar, which is focused on people, lives, and livelihoods, Dr. Al Jaber called on parties to operationalise the loss and damage fund, double climate adaptation finance, and replenish the Green Climate Fund. Dr. Sultan said, “all countries must commit to a robust global goal on adaptation that protects nature and builds on the commitments of the Kunming Montreal Biodiversity summit.”

Dr. Al Jaber noted that COP28 will be the first to integrate health and climate with a climate health ministerial. He said: “I am calling on all countries to sign up to the COP28 declarations on food and on health. These are people focused initiatives that need support from every country, including China.

Finally, on the fourth pillar of full inclusivity, Dr. Al Jaber said that “everyone is welcome at COP28, because the world can only succeed if all countries, all companies, all stakeholders work together.” He then praised China’s example, noting how “by working together, as the Belt and Road Initiative has shown over the last 10 years, we can achieve great things through partnership and collaboration.”

Concluding his remarks, Dr. Al Jaber said, “We live in turbulent times against a complex geopolitical backdrop. COP28 provides a global platform for the world to set aside differences and come together around a common challenge that affects us all.”

Beijing’s High-level Forum on Green Development comes ahead of Pre-COP on 30-31 October in the UAE, where ministers will gather to make major progress on defining and driving consensus on negotiations in advance of COP28 itself.

During his visit to China, Dr. Al Jaber also engaged in bilateral meetings with Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, Huang Runqiu, China’s Minister of Ecology and Environment, Jin Zhuanglong, China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Zhao Chenxi, Vice Chairman of the National Development of Reform Commission (NDRC) and Dr. Amy Khor, Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment. He also met with Professor Zou Ji, CEO & President of Energy Foundation China.

This is Dr. Al Jaber's second visit to China in less than a month. On September 27, he delivered an address at the Friends of Paris High-Level Dialogue meeting, calling for a robust response to the Global Stocktake to get “back on track” to Paris.