China's climate policy: Promises, Promises

China has so far refused to make its own contributions to the financing of climate action, adaptation or climate damage reduction within the UN framework. According to UN definitions, the world’s second-largest economy and by far the largest CO2 emitter is classified as a so-called Non-Annex-I country – mostly developing countries.

This classification was made by the UN in 1992. According to UN statutes, China is not required to participate in international climate financing, even though the country has since experienced an unprecedented economic boom: Per capita, economic power is 34 times higher than in 1992, and the state has accumulated trillions in currency reserves.

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What China contributes to climate financing is, therefore, voluntary and is distributed through channels controlled by China. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), led by China, announced at the end of September that it would triple its climate financing to at least 7 billion dollars annually by 2030. However, experts criticize China for not keeping its promises. While there have been bold announcements, only relatively small amounts have been paid out so far, and the payments are marked by significant opacity.
Furthermore, China, like some Western countries, announces more than it actually pays. In 2015, the People’s Republic pledged 3.1 billion dollars for the “China South-South Climate Cooperation Fund”. According to E3G research, less than ten percent of this money, 286 million dollars, had been disbursed by the end of 2022.
If China were to participate in climate financing within the UN framework, the country would have to accept greater transparency and would have less control over the use of the funds. “The main reason why China does not participate in UN climate funds is likely to be a fundamental one: For China, it is a strategic priority not to lose its status as a ‘developing country,’” says Martin Voß, climate diplomacy and cooperation officer at the environmental and development organization Germanwatch.

  • Sarah Chabane

    36 w

    Worrying! Let's push for China to act on their pledges

    • walter lungayi

      37 w

      China needs to step up and take responsibility for financing climate action and reducing climate damage, especially as the world's largest CO2 emitter. Its classification as a developing country should not exempt it from contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.

      • Munene Mugambi

        37 w

        The Chinese have the industrial power to go green if and when they're willing to. Question is, are they willing?

        • Saustine Lusanzu

          37 w

          This is not acceptable at all cost, finance is what we need

          • CHRIS NGATIA

            37 w

            Our hope is that all the promises will soon be turned into actions Coz that's what we need right now

            • Annett Michuki..

              37 w

              action is all we need

              • Grace Njeri

                37 w

                Pledges should be turned into actions.

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