China and Australia : No interest in more climate protection

China is the largest producer of greenhouse gases, Australia has one of the highest CO2 emission rates per capita. But even after the alarming report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, both countries see no reason to tighten their climate policies.

One day after the publication of the alarming world climate report, China and Australia have announced that they will stick to their current climate policies.

According to the AFP news agency, the Chinese Foreign Ministry appealed to the international community to have “full confidence in the implementation of China’s climate protection measures.” The government did not announce new climate protection targets.

More coal-fired power plants for economic growth

The Chinese government wants to reduce CO2 emissions before 2030. Currently, China is the country with the most greenhouse gas emissions. By 2060, China is supposed to be CO2 neutral. However, Beijing has recently pushed ahead with the opening of dozens of new coal-fired power plants to ensure economic growth.

Accordingly, further, expansion is also planned in the coming years. Coal consumption is not to be gradually reduced until 2026. However, President Xi Jinping will “strictly control” the construction of coal-fired power plants, the ministry said.

Coal is Australia’s top export

Australia also rejected calls for more ambitious CO2 emission targets. The country is already doing its part to combat climate change, said conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison. His government continues to reject a commitment to greenhouse neutrality by 2050. He will “not sign a blank check on behalf of Australians for targets without a plan.”

Australia is at the forefront of the global climate crisis. The country has one of the highest CO2 emission rates per capita, is one of the largest exporters of coal and natural gas, and is also the victim of several environmental disasters exacerbated by climate change. In recent years, Australia has experienced several severe droughts, the largest bushfires in history, flooding, and coastal erosion.

Ahead of the global climate conference in Glasgow in November 2020, Morrison had rejected calls, including from allies such as the U.S., to set a formal target for reducing or offsetting CO2 emissions. Instead, the government announced that Australia would achieve greenhouse gas neutrality “as soon as possible,” preferably by 2050 – but it made no commitments.

Many politicians in the conservative coalition government with close ties to the coal industry deny climate change or downplay its dangers.

Island states appeal to international community

Meanwhile, an alliance of small island states issued an urgent appeal to the international community to tackle climate change. “We need to turn the tide,” said Diann Black-Layne, climate negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) and ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda. Rising sea levels pose a direct threat to the island nations’ livelihoods. The alliance includes 39 countries, including Cuba, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea, and the Maldives, the lowest-lying country in the world.

According to the IPCC report released Monday, the Earth is warming even faster than previously thought and will be 1.5 degrees warmer than in the pre-industrial era as early as around 2030 – 10 years earlier than predicted in 2018. According to the model calculations, the target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees above the pre-industrial era, if possible, will probably be exceeded within the next 20 years, even with the strictest climate protection measures.

According to the researchers, global warming is “clearly” caused by humans. Some effects of global warmings, such as rising sea levels and melting glaciers, are already “irreversible,” according to UN climate experts.