What’s China’s INDCs Project?

The developments leading to the upcoming COP21 (Paris Conference), is being watched by the entire world. Nations including the developed, rapidly developing and the small island groups have placed...

The developments leading to the upcoming COP21 (Paris Conference), is being watched by the entire world. Nations including the developed, rapidly developing and the small island groups have placed their faith in the outcome of the Conference. The recent environmental problems that China is facing demand for a greater participation by China on the issue. A lot is being expected! Almost a year ahead of the Paris Conference, the “US-China Climate Deal” hit the headlines in the media in November 2014. The deal was actually parallel pledges made by the US and China. The US pledged that it would try to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to 26%-28% below the 2005 levels by 2025. China meanwhile promised that it would peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 or earlier. It also pledged that by 2030, 20% of the energy needs would be fulfilled by the non-fossil fuels. These announcements by the two largest emitters, were tremendously appreciated by scholars, policy makers and media. However, as a matter of fact, these pledges did not mention about which trajectory China is going to follow after the peak year. It also had no mention about how much will be the decrease in the emission after China reaches its peak year.

The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) which are to be declared by the parties ahead of the Paris Conference are supposed to play a key role in its success. 31st March was supposed to be the loose deadline for the submission of the INDCs by the parties. To-date 29 submissions have been made. China officially submitted its INDC on 30th June 2015. The pledges made by China in its INDC are very close to the commitments made by President Xi Jinping in November 2014. Besides, it is also committed that China will reduce the emission per unit GDP by 60-65%, nd the forest stock volume will be increased by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level. These pledges are being considered as a shift in China’s business-as-usual position, and as a considerable step towards slowing down the emissions. Moreover a shift from the double digit growth rate to the 7% growth of China has surprised the whole world. It is being believed that the slower growth rate is leading to a decrease in the demand for energy, which in turn is going to slow down the emissions.

Although the earlier highlights of China’s position in the international climate change negotiations like the ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’, equity, technology transfer and historical responsibility of the developed countries reoccurred in the current INDCs, the recent moves of China towards the climate change mitigation commitments demand appreciation. But the INDCs that are projected are quite hard to be achieved. China needs a rigorous reform in its energy consumption pattern. The volume of emissions that China is going to achieve by its peak year is going to be crucial for the limiting of the global temperature rise. China has to move ahead towards sustainable development in order to prove itself as a responsible stakeholder. The proposal of establishing of the Fund for the South-South Cooperation in Climate Change, providing assistance and support within its means, to other developing countries, including small island group, the least developed countries and the African countries can help China in winning international acknowledgement.

Shagufta Yasmin

Shagufta is doctoral candidate from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She completed her graduation and masters degree in Chinese language. She did her M.Phil. from the School of International Studies, JNU. She is an aspiring researcher working on climate change, climate change politics and environmental diplomacy. Currently she is based in New Delhi, and working voluntarily on the issues related to climate change.
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