“China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said in a pre-recorded video address at the annual UN general assembly.
Xi is personally invested in the climate agenda. Since he came to power in 2012, Beijing has been taking more visible steps in tackling its own environmental problems such as pollution. It has been extending its influence abroad, too, by joining international initiatives such as the 2015 Paris climate agreement—a pledge that Donald Trump pulled the US out of four years ago but which Joe Biden has rejoined. And unlike in some countries, there is consensus among China’s political elite that the climate crisis is real.
Inside China there has been growing awareness among citizens about the impact of the climate crisis. This summer’s devastating floods in Henan province illustrated to many people the consequences of inaction on the climate emergency. Jia Xiaolong, the deputy head of the national climate centre, told China News Agency that the heavy rainfall in Henan occurred “against the backdrop of global warming”.