Climate deal hailed as the right choice

Updated: 2015-12-14 08:05

By Lan Lan in Paris(China Daily)

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There's still room to improve, but historic step has been taken, says China's special representative

The landmark legally binding agreement on climate change reached in Paris at the weekend is the right choice made by all parties at a historic juncture, according to China's special representative on the issue.

The deal is "equitable and reasonable, comprehensive and balanced, ambitious, durable and effective", Xie Zhenhua said, adding that it reflects principles of common but different responsibilities, and equity.

Climate deal hailed as the right choice

French President Francois Hollande (right), French Foreign Minister and President of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris Laurent Fabius (center), and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon applaud the conference agreement on Saturday. Francois Mori / AP

"It's not a perfect deal and there is still room for improvement. But it doesn't hinder us from taking a historic step," Xie said after the signing.

The first universal agreement on climate change was adopted after years of negotiations among 195 countries, ushering in an era of the low-carbon economy.

The deal, reached on Saturday, sets a long-term goal for limiting global temperature rises to below 2 C from pre-industrial times until 2100, or even 1.5 C if action is taken quickly enough, sending a signal for policymakers and businesses to react quickly.

Xie, who has headed the Chinese delegation to the United Nations climate conference for nine years, said the Paris gathering was a crucial point in the global climate governance process.

He also praised the diplomatic wisdom of host country France in making the meeting a success.

The French government had frequently exchanged views with different parties in the past two years and showed great leadership in driving the negotiations forward in a transparent way, negotiators said.

Yang Fuqiang, a senior adviser on energy, environment and climate change at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said China has played a constructive role in supporting the achievement of an ambitious and strong Paris agreement.

In the past six years, the country has moved faster than many other nations in making a low-carbon transition.

It has committed to its carbon dioxide emissions peaking by 2030 and to contributing 20 billion yuan ($3.1 billion) to the South-South Climate Cooperation Fund to help developing countries address climate change.

It has also invested heavily in renewable energy in recent years.

Observers said China has made great efforts in representing the Group of 77 developing countries and the BASIC group - Brazil, South Africa, India and China - to ensure the meeting had a successful outcome.

They said cooperation and coordination on climate change between China and the United States also provided a positive impetus for the negotiations and provided solutions to a number of key issues.

Li Shuo, senior climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace East Asia, said China's role in Paris should be judged on what happened over the past two weeks and in the two years leading up to the conference.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Sunday described the landmark agreement as "a new beginning in international cooperation".