China is 'committed to net zero,' head of top Asian development bank says at COP27

By Eoin McSweeney and Ella Nilsen, CNNUpdated: Wed, 09 Nov 2022 10:16:42 GMTSource: CNN BusinessChina and the other 104 members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are "deeply committed" to th

By Eoin McSweeney and Ella Nilsen, CNN

Updated: Wed, 09 Nov 2022 10:16:42 GMT

Source: CNN Business

China and the other 104 members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are "deeply committed" to their net-zero targets, says the chief of the continent's largest multilateral development bank.

"All of the members are committed to net zero, particularly many developing countries who certainly have a lot of issues to deal with. But all of them are committed," Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) President Jin Liqun told CNN's Becky Anderson in an interview Tuesday at UN climate summit COP27.

China is the world's largest carbon emitter of fossil fuels, but has committed to net zero goals by 2060.

Environmental loss and damage are taking center stage at this year's summit in Egypt, as low-carbon-emitting countries demand that developed, high-carbon-emitting countries pay up for this damage.

Some countries are fighting for a so-called "loss and damage" fund, in line with the concept that countries that have contributed the most to climate change through their emissions should pay poorer countries to recover from the resulting disasters.

There have also been calls for multilateral development banks such as the AIIB to reform finance rules to allow countries to build toward a clean energy future.

"We are all for reform, but please keep in mind this bank was created in the 21st century on the basis of experience of all the MDBs that were created over the last seven decades," said Jin. "We also try to have some innovative features so this bank can be lean, clean and green."

The China-backed AIIB says it is committed to building climate-resilient infrastructure and technology. Nearly half of its financing is for adapting tools that help with "climate change mitigation," said Jin, adding that it aims to be in line with Paris Agreement goals by 2025.

China says it has a methane emissions plan

China's top climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said Tuesday that the country had formed a national strategy to reduce its methane emissions, fulfilling a promise it made at last year's UN climate summit in Scotland.

Speaking on a panel at COP27, Xie said that China's methane strategy would focus on three areas: reducing methane from its energy sector, agriculture and waste management.

Within the energy sector, however, Xie only mentioned reducing emissions from oil and gas. He did not mention China's coal sector, which produces much of the country's methane emissions, in addition to carbon dioxide emissions. China produces the most methane emissions from coal mines in the world, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

"We already have the plans in place" to reduce methane emissions, Xie said, adding that "going forward we will focus on implementing them with concrete actions." He added that the country would require new technologies and financing to help it meet its goals.

"The government must first secure a substantial amount of public funding, and use it as a [form of] leverage to encourage more participation from financial institutions and the public sector," Xie said.

US Climate Envoy John Kerry's team had been watching to see whether China would fulfill its commitment from last year to come up with a plan to reduce its methane emissions. The two countries had previously agreed to work together to reduce methane and carbon dioxide emissions, but China suspended the climate talks this summer as retaliation for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan.

In a separate speech on Sunday, Xie also called on all sectors of Chinese society to actively contribute to the fight against global climate change.

— CNN's Beijing bureau and Michelle Toh contributed to this report.