China on Monday asked developed countries to stop using the coal first and provide financial aid to developing countries to adopt green technologies as it defended its move to join hands with India in calling for "phase down" instead of "phase out" of coal in the final text of the COP26 conference declaration.
Negotiators from nearly 200 countries accepted a new climate agreement after the COP26 summit in Glasgow concluded on Saturday with a deal, which recognises India's intervention for the world to "phase down" rather than "phase out" fossil fuels.
"Green and low-carbon transition is the overwhelming trend that all countries should work together for. China attaches high importance to energy transition,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here.
He was responding to a question on COP26 Chairman Alok Sharma's reported comments that China and India need to explain to developing nations why they watered down the language on efforts to phase out coal at the conference and rejected calls for "phasing out" coal firepower instead opted to "phasing down".
Zhao said, "To optimize energy structure and reduce the proportion of coal consumption is an incremental process. The varying national conditions, development stage and resources endowment of different countries should be respected”.
"In many developing countries, not everyone has access to electricity and energy supply is not adequate. Before asking all countries to stop using coal, consideration should be given to the energy shortfall in these countries to ensure their energy security," Zhao said.
"We encourage developed countries to take the lead in stopping using coal while providing ample funding, technological and capacity-building support for developing countries' energy transition. We need concrete actions more than slogans," he said.
Chinese official media has criticised the Western media for targeting China and India for pressing “phase down" use of coal power instead of "phase out” in the final text adopted by 197 countries at the COP26 conference which concluded last week.
Climate scientists hailed the "unprecedented determination of tackling global warming" demonstrated by summit participants, especially developing countries including China and India, as not only underscoring the urgency of the climate issue but also a stimulus for developed countries to match their promises with actions, state-run Global Times reported on Monday.
All participants of COP26, especially developing countries, have demonstrated unprecedented ambition and determination to tackle climate change, Pan Jiahua, director of the Institute for Urban and Environmental Studies, told the Global Times.
He praised India for its pledge to target net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2070.
"It's almost a mission impossible for India, which relies on coal for 75 per cent of its electricity," said Pan, praising India for showing "valuable determination."
In his reply, Zhao said China has made tremendous efforts in controlling coal consumption and coal-fired projects and played an important role in building international consensus on relevant issues.
He said that since the beginning of this year President Xi Jinping has announced a host of policy measures China has adopted, including to strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, to strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th Five-Year Plan period and phase it down in the 15th Five-Year Plan period, to vigorously support developing countries' green and low-carbon energy development, and to stop building new coal-fired power projects abroad”.
"The international community has spoken highly of this. The recently-released China-US Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s reiterated relevant content,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)