China and the EU will forge an alliance to take a leading role in tackling climate change in response to Donald Trump’s expected decision to pull the US out of the historic Paris agreement.
Amid growing fears that the US will soon join Nicaragua and Syria on the small list of countries refusing to back the climate accord, signed in 2015, Beijing and Brussels have been preparing to announce their intention to accelerate joint efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.
According to a statement being prepared before an EU-China summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, the new alliance will say they are determined to “lead the energy transition” toward a low-carbon economy.
The EU’s climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, told the Guardian: “The EU and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy.”
Cañete continued: “No one should be left behind, but the EU and China have decided to move forward. Our successful cooperation on issues like emissions trading and clean technologies are bearing fruit. Now is the time to further strengthen these ties to keep the wheels turning for ambitious global climate action.”
In their declaration, Brussels and Beijing will also call on all parties “to uphold the Paris agreement” and signal their “highest political commitment” to doing so themselves.
In a week during which a Europe-US rift seems to be deepening, the Chinese premier became the second major Asian leader to arrive in Berlin. Talks will focus on closer cooperation on trade and climate issues.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Germany on Wednesday evening, greeted by full military honors.
China’s number two official kicked off two days of meetings in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of wider meetings with European Union leaders in Brussels on Thursday.
His visit came amid a deepening rift between the US and Europe. After “unsatisfying” G7 talks last week, Merkel said that Europe now has to forge its own path forward, as the US and Britain were no longer reliable partners – comments that made waves through Europe.
Talks on climate
The EU has been turning to China to bolster leadership on climate change following speculation that the US President Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. The EU and China plan to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement during a bilateral summit in Brussels on Thursday, according to a briefing by an EU official and a draft joint statement statement seen by news agencies AFP and DPA.
“The EU and China consider the Paris Agreement as an historic achievement further accelerating the irreversible global low greenhouse gas emission and climate resilient development,” the nine-page draft joint statement said.
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