Thursday

23rd Nov 2017

China tells EU: 'Put pressure on US over climate, not developing countries'

  • China and the EU held "a very candid" exchange of views on climate (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

China's chief diplomat on climate action, Su Wei, has said that the European Union must "seize the time" and increase its climate ambition to a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions.

"The EU should raise its target to 30 percent. It's achievable," Mr Su told reporters in Brussels on Monday (22 March) after he and a delegation of Chinese climate officials led by Xie Zhenhua, the vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, met with EU climate action commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"This will prompt the US to raise its target. We understand that there are different views among the EU member states, but if the EU wants to continue its clear leadership, it must seize the time."

Mr Su said that the two sides had engaged in "a very candid exchange of views."

The Chinese diplomat also said that the bloc must put pressure on the US to embrace the Kyoto Protocol instead of on developing countries to abandon it:

"The EU can play an important role in pushing the US in the right direction. The EU should not decide to backtrack simply because the US is trying to. The EU must insist on on the US sticking to its obligations and then the US will be under pressure to step up its commitments."

He added that China "closely follows" European developments and is aware that there were different views among members states on moving up to a 30 percent reduction target, but that Beijing does not "want to see that because of economic considerations, the EU slows down its commitment."

He said that his government took note of the communication the bloc issued earlier this month: "Overall, we take a very welcoming attitude to the communication."

"The communication re-affirmed the principles of the Copenhagen Accord [the document produced during the UN climate summit in December] that developed countries take the lead in substantial reductions and adhering to their technical obligations."

But he insisted that the EU pass through the door first: "So long as these countries do so, we will be able to take positive steps in mitigation."

Nevertheless, taking care to praise as much as to damn, Mr Su said: "The EU's role in tackling climate change was widely recognised in the world before Copenhagen.

"China and the EU have many converging positions, interests."

Pessimism

In recent weeks, the EU has become increasingly pessimistic that an international agreement will be reached at the next UN climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year. Ms Hedegaard has said that such a deal is unlikely before the end of 2011, when the UN roadshow finally arrives in a so-called Basic country [the developing countries with the largest economies: Brazil, South Africa, India and China], at the climate summit in South Africa.

Mr Su also thought a deal in Cancun would be difficult, but that the obstacle was Washington, not poor countries: "The most crucial factor is the US. If at the time of the conference, it is obvious that they will not produce any legally binding reduction targets, then it is very difficult to preview that Cancun will achieve a comprehensive result."

"But I am not that pessimistic. We have just learnt that Congress passed the healthcare bill. Now there is time to focus on climate change."

He added that the EU's intense diplomatic outreach to bring together a 'coalition of the willing' to isolate its opponents in the UN is "the wrong strategy." Instead, the "EU can unite with all of the developing countries to tackle climate change and this will put pressure on the US."

Referring to a walk-out of UN talks by the African Union at a meeting last September in Bangkok and a second walk-out in Copenhagen, he said: "It seems that as regards the reality of the second phase [of the Kyoto Protocol], developed countries and the EU seem to be backpeddling, which gives rise to these problems."

"This is not a good strategy. Developing countries and the EU have a lot of goals in common."

Meat 'taboo' debated at Bonn climate summit

Animal agriculture is responsible for a significant share of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, but until recently it 'was an issue that was really brushed under the carpet'.

News in Brief

  1. Rwanda may resettle 30,000 migrants from Libya
  2. EU tax haven blacklist may include Turkey
  3. No UK 'capital of culture' city post-Brexit
  4. EU sets up natural disaster rescue team
  5. Spain sends migrant arrivals to unfinished prison
  6. Iceland prepares for biggest volcano to blow
  7. Greek parliament postpones debate on Saudi arms deal
  8. Family of murdered Malta journalist to sue police

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  4. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  5. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  6. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  7. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  8. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  10. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  11. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  12. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!

Latest News

  1. EU awaits UK proposals in final push for Brexit breakthrough
  2. Berlin risks being 'culprit' for stalling EU, warns Green MEP
  3. Eastern partners, eastern problems
  4. Germany's Schulz under pressure to enter coalition talks
  5. LuxLeaks trial re-opens debate on whistleblowers' protection
  6. Wilders says Russia is 'no enemy' ahead of Moscow visit
  7. EU must put Sudan under microscope at Africa summit
  8. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya