According to the Times, Xi Jinping is not expected to attend the forthcoming climate summit in November and the Prime Minister has been notified. More than a hundred world leaders are expected to attend the meeting in Glasgow.
A government source told the Times that there was pessimism in the COP unit about China’s movements to deal with climate change.
The source said: “It is now quite clear that Xi will not show up and PM has been told.”
“What we do not know is what attitude the Chinese will take. They could go to the G20 [summit in Rome on October 30-31] with new commitments but it now looks less likely.
“The truth is that unless China comes up with new commitments, we will not be able to keep 1.5 degrees alive.”
However, a Whitehall official has said that Xi Jinping’s absence may not mean that the country will not come up with new proposals.
“Xi has not traveled anywhere for several years. He did not go to the UN General Assembly [last month] and he does not go to the G20.
“Let’s see what China does instead of obsessing over who shows up.”
The UN Climate Conference (COP26) takes place between 31 October and 12 November.
The participating countries are expected to publish climate change targets in advance, so-called nationally defined contributions (NDCs).
However, according to the Times, only half of the G20 countries have presented their plans for these goals so far.
If China does not publish its own NDC, it could jeopardize efforts to reach an agreement to ensure that the world continues to limit global warming to 1.5C.
China is currently responsible for 27 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.