A top European Union official said Brussels and Beijing are stepping up their coordination in the battle against global warming, as the United States considers to re-engage in a landmark Paris agreement to cut greenhouse gases.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Frans Timmermans, the vice-president of the European Commission, said the European Union will press ahead with efforts to protect the environment by shifting to a low-carbon economy and reducing dependency on fossil fuels.
“The Chinese are faced with such a challenge that you can see the sense of urgency prevailing there more and more, and the willingness to cooperate with us is getting stronger and stronger,” said Timmermans. “People are suffocating in the cities in parts of China. They know they need to do something urgently about this. And in some areas, they’re moving at incredible speed.”
The 28 EU members account for about 12% of global emissions and China for around 20%.
As reported by Bloomberg, the EU has moved to sustainable energy sources and established the world’s biggest carbon market – to meet its carbon-reduction targets set at 20% by 2020 and 40% by 2030.
Now with China intensifying its fight against air pollution and the EU helping the government in Beijing to design a nationwide cap-and-trade programme, investors are awaiting political signals about a future link between the two systems and closer cooperation on clean energy technologies.
Meanwhile, officials in Washington said last weekend that US President Donald Trump could reverse his decision to abandon the Paris climate accord, which was agreed in December 2015. Since moving into the Oval Office, Trump has called climate change a hoax.
Timmermans, who was invited to address a World Economic Forum conference in New York on sustainable development on September 18-19, said he expected the fight against climate change in the US to be driven by cities and citizens.