BEIJING (Reuters) - China, Brazil, India and South Africa have urged industrialised countries to honour financial commitments made in Paris in 2015 to help developing countries fight against global climate change, they said in a statement on Tuesday.
Following a meeting in Beijing, climate change ministers from the “BASIC” bloc of four major emerging economies called on rich countries “to honour their commitments and increase climate finance towards the $100 billion goal”, and said more clarity was needed to “track and account for” those pledges.
Climate financing was a major bone of contention during negotiations to seal a new global deal to curb and reduce climate-warming greenhouse gases in Paris at the end of 2015, with China and other developing nations adamant that the bulk of the burden should fall to advanced industrialised nations like the United States.
As part of the Paris deal, developed countries agreed to make more funding available to a Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is designed to be used by poor and climate-vulnerable countries.
But the agreement has been plunged into uncertainty after U.S. President Donald Trump, who has questioned the scientific basis of global warming, last month proposed an end to payments to the GCF and signed an order to undo climate change regulations introduced by his predecessor.
At a media briefing after the Tuesday meeting, South Africa’s deputy minister of environmental affairs, Barbara Thompson, said recent changes in U.S. policy were “of major concern”.
But “the position of the U.S. is still very unclear to us”, she said, adding “we believe there are different views within the U.S. administration” on this issue.
At the same briefing, China’s chief climate envoy, Xie Zhenhua, insisted China remained willing to work closer with the United States.
Xie told Reuters after the briefing that he expected China and the United States to hold talks on climate issues, and that discussions were going on at multiple levels.
Joint pledges made by China and the United States, the world’s two biggest emitters of climate-warming greenhouse gases, helped bridge the gap between developed and developing countries and provided the momentum to seal the deal in Paris.
Xie told reporters that China could now surpass its 2020 climate change commitments, which included a pledge to reduce 2005 levels of carbon intensity - the amount produced per unit of economic growth - by 40 percent to 45 percent.
China has also promised to try to exceed its target to bringing its total greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by “around 2030”.
Reporting by Elias Glenn, Additional reporting by Alister Doyle in OSLO; Writing by David Stanway; Editing by Christian Schmollinger