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China Hopes to Welcome US “Back to The Negotiating Table” to Discuss Global Efforts to Limit Climate Change

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago

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China, US, Climate Change
FILE - China's top climate change negotiator, Xie Zhenhua. VOA

China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile in December, its top climate change envoy said on Tuesday.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs, told journalists during a visit to a solar energy plant outside the Chilean capital Santiago that China would provide “full support to the Chilean presidency of this meeting.”

The summit was “strong proof that a multilateral negotiation process is successful, that multilateralism is working,” he said.

Asked if the U.S. approach to the threat of climate change under President Donald Trump and the U.S.-China trade dispute might affect the outcome in Santiago, Xie replied: “China and the U.S. has many differences but we do have some common grounds on climate change issues as well and we welcome them back to the negotiating table on climate change, we are very open to that.”

China, US, Climate Change
China hopes to welcome the United States “back to the negotiating table” to discuss global efforts to limit climate change at a United Nations summit to be hosted by Chile. VOA

Trump has signaled his intention to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate accord and been dismissive of regulations aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions. He has also expressed his preference for bilateral trade pacts over multilateral agreements.

In July, China pledged on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka to show “the highest possible ambition” in the fight against climate change. Experts and policy advisors say the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter could introduce new and more stringent carbon targets next year.

Xie said China would back a bid by the U.N. secretary-general and climate change envoy to persuade all countries to update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) goals to keep global warming to well below two degrees centigrade.

“The most important objective is to identify the new NDCs for the post-2020 period and link those new NDCs together with the financial support from the developed countries as promised,” Xie said. “To have that financial support in place is very important and that’s the objective we would like to achieve.”

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China is a key investor in Chilean renewable energy projects and manufactured half of the solar panels at the 110MW Parque Quilapilún solar plant Xie visited with environment minister Carolina Schmidt.

Schmidt will serve as president of the COP25 U.N. climate change summit in December. (VOA)

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Worldwide Protests against Climate Change to Draw More than One Million Participants

A day of worldwide protests against climate change is underway that organizers predict will draw more than one million participants

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Worldwide, Protests, Climate Change
Activists march in a climate change rally in London, Britain, Sept. 20, 2019. VOA

A day of worldwide protests against climate change is underway that organizers predict will draw more than one million participants, the largest-ever expected demonstration decrying the man-made causes of a warming planet.

Friday’s protests began across Asia, where hundreds of thousands of students and others took to the streets calling for action against climate change ahead of a United Nations summit on the issue. The protests later spread to Africa and Europe, with huge crowds filling the streets.

In Australia alone, more than 300,000 children and adults rallied with the backing of some local authorities, schools and businesses. School Strike 4 Climate in Australia said the throngs of protestors represented the largest climate protest in the country’s history. Warmer weather patterns have taken a toll on Australia, sparking drought, flooding, more intense brushfires and the whitening of the Great Barrier Reef.

Smaller protests occurred across Asia, from the Philippines to Hong Kong and India.

Worldwide, Protests, Climate Change
Activists call for action against climate change at a rally in Karachi, Pakistan, Sept. 20, 2019. VOA

Rallies are also underway in the United States, where organizers say more than 800 events have been planned, including several high-profile demonstrations in New York. More than 1 million students in some 1,800 New York City public schools have been allowed to skip school in order to participate.

In Africa, protests were held in Nairobi, Kenya and in the South African cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. Experts say Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change and the least equipped to deal with the phenomenon.

Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg helped inspire the protests, staging weekly demonstrations for the past year calling on world leaders to bolster efforts to combat climate change. Friday’s Global Climate Strike is the third of several worldwide climate rallies organized by students and led by the 16-year-old Thunberg.

Thunberg is scheduled to speak at an emergency U.N. climate change summit on Monday, when Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to urge world leaders to exceed their commitments to the 2015 Paris climate accord.

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Guterres has demanded that countries present plans of direct action, including ending construction of coal-fired power plants and reducing fossil fuel subsidies.

Countries that are committed to the Paris agreement have pledged to limit the long-term rise in the Earth’s average temperature to two degrees over pre-industrial levels.

Worldwide, Protests, Climate Change
Kenyan protesters, predominantly young people, march demanding their government take immediate action against climate change, in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 20, 2019. (M. Yusuf/VOA) VOA

A U.N. report to be released next week is expected to conclude that global warming and pollution are devastating oceans and polar regions, raising risks for ecological devastation around the world.

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The Trump administration has cast doubt on a broad scientific consensus that the earth is warming and human activity is mostly to blame. (VOA)