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The 2019 Annual Meeting Open Forum: Post-Katowice Global Climate Governance


The Open Forum for CCICED 2019 Annual General Meeting, themed “Post-Katowice Global Climate Governance”, was held on Sunday in Hangzhou, China. Participants had a wide-ranging discussion with topics focused on enhanced efforts for Chinese and international communities to deal with climate change, pathways for achieving the targets of Paris Agreement on climate change, as well as rapid and pragmatic climate action plans. The meeting dealt with two themes, from Katowitz to climate neutral, and rapid and pragmatic climate action plans.



Xie Zhenhua, vice chairman of the council and China’s special envoy on climate change, ?sa Romson, former deputy prime minister of Sweden and minister for Climate and the Environment, co-chaired the forum. The opinions of council members and experts are given as follows:



Addressing the forum, Xie noted the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice stuck to multilateralism, which increased confidence in the international community’s ability to deal with climate change. He said, however, there is a long way to go before each country takes initiatives to make contributions and keep global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius. Therefore, international cooperation and technological innovation need to be strengthened. Xie promised that China will actively respond to climate change, by optimizing its industrial structure, improving energy efficiency, developing non-fossil energy sources, and increasing forest carbon sinks. China will embark on a path of low-carbon development suited to national conditions, while promoting South-South cooperation on climate change, according to Xie. 




Romson noted that China plays a significant role in globally dealing with climate change, and China’s leadership in the field not only provided an example for developing countries but also injected confidence into the world. She remarked that the biggest challenge in tackling climate change is how to make effective innovations and find concrete solutions through cooperation and dialogue.



Joyce Msuya, UNEP acting executive director and assistant secretary-general of the UN, called for urgent attention to climate actions. She noted that the cost of inaction will be 20 times as high as that of active action in meeting the target of keeping the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius.



Kate Hampton, CEO of Children's Investment Fund Foundation, said that the humans need to take urgent action to meet the target of keeping the global temperature rise to within 2 degrees Celsius, or even within 1.5 degrees Celsius. She suggested that China coordinate the effort of dealing with climate change and that of protecting biodiversity. 




Zou Ji, president of the Energy Foundation China, proposed that China may boost its international influence via improved climate strategy, while sharing experience with countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative as well as other developing countries.



He Jiankun, director of the academic committee of Institute of Climate Change and Sustainable Development at Tsinghua University, noted that China needs to strengthen the energy conservation and restructuring to rapidly decrease carbon emissions. He added that China needs to formulate medium and long-term strategies, which are guided by the target of preventing global temperature rising more than 2 degrees Celsius. China also needs to speed up transitioning to an economy with low carbon development, and get deeply involved in global environmental governance community.




Scott Vaughan, international chief advisor of the council, recommended that China should increase renewable consumption in its energy mix and using gas as a bridging fuel; implement the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol and formulate energy efficiency standard for relevant industries; connect climate change with biodiversity protection. 




Ajay Mathur, director general of the Energy and Resources Institute of India, remarked that suitable technologies and policies are conductive to rapid development of low-carbon economy. 




Howard Bamsey, former executive director of Green Climate Fund Secretariat, noted that investment becomes one of the crucial actions in dealing with climate changes. He added that each country needs to reinforce its policy guidance in providing momentum for relevant investment. 




Alexander Fisher, head of division for Climate, Environment, Natural Resource for the Sino-German Climate Change Cooperation, remarked that international community needs to remove barriers for the purpose of implementing Paris Agreement. He suggested that alliances among cities and industries be set up, and technical cooperation in the field of transportation be reinforced.




During the open discussion, David Sandalow, inaugural fellow at Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy, noted it will encourage other countries to take actions if China formulates more ambitious carbon reduction plans. Vicky Pollard pointed out that China could consider which provinces and industries would take the lead in peaking their carbon emissions. Zou Ji said that international cooperation needs to be reinforced.




Wang Yi, vice president of the Institutes of Science and Development under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, suggested adhering to the principle of multilateral negotiations, while ensuring China and relevant countries play a leading role in addressing climate issues. Wang also added that, at the present stage, control of the total carbon emissions serves as fundamental to promoting economic restructuring, achieving carbon emission reduction targets and launching carbon market.





Jonathan Pershing, program director of Environment of Hewitt Foundation, remarked that China needs to make a comprehensive low-carbon development strategy, by fully taking into account emission reduction in industries and formulating coordinated mechanisms among governments. 




Jorgen Thomsen, director of Climate Solutions of MacArthur Foundation, proposed three suggestions: sequestering excess carbon in soil; using carbon capture technology to achieve long-term goals of carbon emission reduction; making more use of nature-based solutions to achieve short-term goals of addressing climate change. 




Eric Heitz, Founder and CEO Emeritus of the Energy Foundation, remarked that China is making remarkable achievements in air pollution control, and largely developing renewables such as solar power and wind energy. Heitz suggested establishing innovative mechanism to control coal consumption. 




Ma Aimin, vice chairperson of National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation of China, put forward three suggestions as to how to meet China’s commitment to Paris Agreement. They include, firstly, integrating climate change plans into the development plans of all other regions and sectors; secondly, improving the management system to reduce greenhouse gas emission; thirdly, establishing a more effective checking system for counting on greenhouse gas emissions. 




David Sandalow proposed five suggestions. First, it should give full consideration to the carbon emissions of the grain system. Second, it should give priorities to dispatching renewable energies. Third, investment should be made to technologies that can eliminate carbon dioxide. Fourth, implementation of policies should be strengthened. Fifth, carbon emission reduction should be integrated into the Belt and Road Initiative. 




Manish Bapna, executive vice president and managing director of World Resources Institute, offered four suggestions. First, non-CO2 greenhouse gases should be added to the goal of national independent contribution. Second, farming land should be prevented from damaging forests. Third, nature-based solutions should be strengthened. Fourth, low-carbon development and adequate climate resilience should be ensured. 




William McGoldrick, director of Climate Change of The Nature Conservancy, noted that nature-based solutions can make one third contribution to the achieving the target of the Paris Agreement. 




In concluding remarks, Romson noted that it requires not only nature-based solutions but also innovative policies and practices at different levels, in the process of addressing climate change. She also emphasized the role of enhanced international cooperation and sharing.



Xie Zhenhua gave three recommendations. First, we need to identify the relationship between the objectives and costs in addressing climate change. Second, efforts are made not only to reduce emissions but also neutralize carbon. Third, we need to explore collaboration among government agencies, thus integrating environmental governance to the medium and long-term economic development plan.

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