China to create biodiversity fund for developing countries, Xi says

Beijing, Oct. 12, (dpa/GNA) - China will spend 1.5 billion yuan (230 million dollars) to help developing countries protect their biodiversity, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

The announcement came in a speech to the UN Biodiversity Conference taking place online and in-person in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming.

China will place the money in a biodiversity fund and is inviting other countries to contribute, Xi said.

Xi promised that that China will step up efforts to prevent species extinction, including by expanding its nature reserves.

China is the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases and the largest consumer of coal. Around 60 per cent of its growing energy needs come from coal.

In his video speech, Xi acknowledged the major impact the climate crisis is having on ecosystems. He said China would expand renewable energy capacity by accelerating solar and wind turbine projects.

The five-day UN Biodiversity Conference kicked off on Monday but much of the work is being done online owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting brings together nearly 200 parties with the aim of forging a new framework agreement similar to the 2015 Paris accord to limit global warming.

This week's meeting, known as COP15, will be followed by further negotiations in Switzerland in January, before a final strategy is adopted at an in-person meeting in Kunming from April 25 to May 8.

A UN says that 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, more than ever before in human history.