context: The PRC delegation to COP28 (United Nations climate conference) was active in shaping outcomes before and during the summit. According to MEE (Ministry of Ecology and Environment), the PRC participated in 75 bilateral meetings and 15 multilateral events in Dubai. Katowice committee of experts on the impacts of the implementation of response measures, initiated at COP24 in 2018, is one of several official bodies that provide support for the work programs at the COPs.
As the world's largest emitter, despite being classified as a developing nation, the PRC is under considerable strain during international climate negotiations, argues Wang Mou 王谋 Katowice committee of experts member and Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of Ecological Civilisation researcher. Challenges manifest in various forms, he says, with
- some insisting on significant reductions in emissions
- others seeking financial contributions
The PRC is committed to upholding its rights under international law, specifically within the framework of the Climate Convention, contends Wang, noting that
- one contentious issue lies in attempts to blur historical responsibilities, compelling the PRC to assume emission reduction duties incongruent with the typical roles assigned to developing countries
- there are calls for the PRC to bear investment responsibilities equivalent to those of developed countries, a proposition the PRC views as disproportionate
- such demands challenge the principles of fairness and equity
To navigate these challenges effectively, comprehensive negotiation plans are diligently prepared for each issue well in advance of meetings, Wang says, noting the PRC delegation at COP28 consisted of up to 50 front-line negotiators, engaging on all issues.
As a negotiator for a group of developing countries, in addition to participating in formal meetings and consultations with negotiators from developed countries, PRC negotiators also spent a lot of time participating in consultations on the internal positions of developing countries (G77+China), says Wang. Since there are more than 130 G77+ Chinese member states, internal position consultations may take more time than formal meetings.
The wider PRC delegation, totalling around 2,000 individuals, played a proactive role by orchestrating and coordinating a series of side events hosted at the dedicated 'China Corner' with over 100 side events, according to Wang.
Assessing the outcomes of COP28, Wang says it is evident that progress has been achieved in a well-rounded manner.