China-EU strengthen collaboration ahead of climate talks
China and the European Union are enhancing their cooperation to reduce emissions in an effort to keep global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees Celsius, with a view towards a positive outcome during climate negotiations in Poland.
In a bid to build a consensus, Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy held a bilateral meeting with China's Special Representative for Climate Xie Zhenhua, and Ecology and Environment Minister Li Ganjie in Beijing on Friday.
The bilateral meeting is seen as a crucial collaboration boosting exercise, ahead of the global climate summit COP24, set to kick off in Katowice, Poland next month.
“I trust that the positive example of China and the EU cooperating closely on emissions trading will be a powerful signal of leadership to other countries. This is particularly important now, with the retreat of the US,” Cañete said during a lecture at Tsinghua University.
For a substantial reduction in emissions, China and the EU – the two largest carbon trading economies in the world – signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in July. The cooperation aims at intensifying their political, technical, economic and scientific collaboration on climate change and clean energy. China launched an emissions trading scheme last year, while the EU had one in place since 2005.
EU strategy to limit temperature rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius next month
One of the key highlights of the COP 24 conference will be the IPCC special report, released in October, which provides guidelines to policymakers, including limiting the temperature rise to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The commissioner revealed that the EU will release a long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions later this month to meet the IPCC target. The plan examines cost-efficient ways to reduce emissions and targets zero net emissions by 2050.
“We will examine cost-efficient pathways to de-carbonization – including pathways that go towards zero net emissions by 2050,” he said.
Some of the critical areas for controlling emissions, Cañete said, in collaboration with China, include low carbon cities and lowering transport emissions.
Stalemate over climate funds
In 2009, during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, developed countries promised to provide 100 billion US dollars per year by 2020 to developing nations.
The climate fund, considered as the backbone of the Paris Agreement, was primarily opposed by the US and Australia during Bangkok climate talks in September. The stalemate is likely to become an issue during COP24.
Replying to the CGTN question on the EU's stand on climate finance, Cañete said, “We are fully committed to helping developing countries. We are the largest suppliers of climate change fund; we provide nearly 40 percent of the green funds to developing nations.”
(Top Image: Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy delivering a lecture on climate change at Tsinghua University November 9, 2018. /EEAS Photo)