Xie Zhenhua, China’s recently retired top climate change official, has been named special representative on climate change issues, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and according to sources will attend the December Paris conference.
The NDRC on Friday posted pictures on its website of Xie meeting a Swedish climate change delegation, where he was referred to as China’s special representative for climate change issues.
The appointment has not been officially announced, but means the recently retired climate veteran is still part of China’s climate diplomacy.
One source with knowledge of the matter, who wanted to remain anonymous, confirmed to Carbon Pulse that Xie will remain in his new position until the end of the year, and will attend the Paris talks.
Xie had been the nation’s leading climate official for eight years when he suddenly stepped down in February, just a few months ahead of the crucial Paris talks.
His participation is unlikely to make a difference to China’s policy, but his knowledge of the subject matter and personal relationships with other top negotiators is considered by the NDRC as important and helpful.
His replacement, Zhang Yong, has never worked on climate change issues before.
The story has been updated with confirmation that Xie will attend the Paris meeting.