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The EU and China deepen ties on combating climate change

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The EU and China have reaffirmed their commitment to addressing climate change as one the most significant threats to humanity.

Political leaders came together at the 20th EU-China summit, held in Beijing this week, to seek new ways the two major emitters can meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement.

The joint statement released at the end of the talks dedicates a large section to clean energy and the importance of climate action. It states that the Paris accord is “proof that with shared political will and mutual trust, multilateralism can succeed in building fair and effective solutions to the most critical global problems of our time.”

The two sides also underlined their “highest political commitment” to its effective implementation in all aspects, including adaptation, mitigation and finance. This means forging ahead with new policies and measures which limit the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions and takes immediate action before 2020.

The strong sign of cooperation between the two could be a way of putting political pressure on the United States after its dramatic decision last year to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. World leaders have been at pains to restore confidence in the accord despite the damaging impacts the US’ leaving will cause.

Along with strong words, the EU and China signed two agreements to further cooperation both on emissions trading schemes and the circular economy. China’s carbon market was unveiled late last year, but so far only covers the power sector. Once complete, the scheme will be the largest in the world, covering an estimated 4 billion metric tons of emissions.

President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker commented on the summit: "We have underlined our joint, strong determination to fight climate change and demonstrate global leadership. It shows our commitment to multilateralism and recognises that climate change is a global challenge affecting all countries on earth. There is no time for us to sit back and watch passively. Now is the time for decisive action.”

Photo Credit © European Union, 2018/ Photo: Etienne Ansotte. Li Keqiang, on the right, and Jean-Claude Juncker.

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