How can the EU and China further deepen their cooperation on climate protection? What are the areas to build on? How can the EU and China together send positive signals to move forward on climate protection? These questions were the focus of a virtual event on 6 October hosted by the Federal Foreign Office and the German Energy Agency (dena). Two strategic decisions laid the foundation for the discussion: in September, the two sides announced more ambitious climate targets and agreed to set up a High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue.
Minister of State Niels Annen underscored the responsibility for climate policy shouldered by the EU and China and the high expectations invested therein. He advocated using the newly created Dialogue to enhance climate cooperation, particularly in the run-up to the next UN climate conference (COP26). Several participants spoke in favour of trying to dovetail the European emissions trading system and Chinese approaches to carbon pricing, in addition to agreeing more ambitious climate targets. Other fields of cooperation are renewable energies and hydrogen.
Further guests at the event included State Secretary Jochen Flasbarth (Federal Environment Ministry), Minister Wendy Morton (United Kingdom) and MEP Maria Spyraki.
More ambitious climate targets in China and the EU
In late September 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that China wanted to reach its emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. The European Commission also advocates increasing climate targets for 2030. The aim should be to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.
In its next Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), China will need to start setting the course for carbon neutrality. In the long term, China will also have no choice but to phase out coal.