China and the EU Advance Climate Cooperation

The European Union and China are advancing their effort to coordinate on climate action.

Last month, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans held the first virtual high level China-EU Climate Dialogue. The dialogue was established to provide a forum for pursuing ambitious joint commitments on climate and environmental issues. It was first conceived during the EU-China Leader’s Meeting in September 2020.

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng and Executive Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans appear via video for the first High-level Environment and Climate Dialogue between China and the EU. Photo credit: Xinhua/Ding Lin

Han spoke about China’s commitment to peak emissions by 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. As reported by Xinhua, Han said that China needs to make “extremely arduous efforts to promote energy conservation, emission reduction, and low-carbon development.”

“The two sides should implement the consensus reached by both leaders, give full play to the leading role of the high-level dialogue, deepen China-EU environmental and climate pragmatic cooperation, and make green cooperation a new highlight and engine of China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership,” said Han.

Timmerman wrote via Twitter, “Good to start the EU-China High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue with Vice-Premier Han Zheng this morning. 2021 is a crucial year for us to take action on the twin climate and biodiversity crises.”

Looking ahead, both parties referenced their hope that the upcoming UN meetings will provide opportunities for further cooperation on climate and biodiversity. Han noted the key role that China will play as host of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming in May 2021, and emphasized his hope that the EU will partner with China to launch a new process of global biodiversity governance.

Timmerman said via Twitter, “We have laid the foundations for a good partnership and will work closely together towards #COP26 in Glasgow and #COP15 in Kunming. We must seize these moments to put the world on a path to green recovery, to ensure everyone’s health and well-being for generations to come.”

Green Finance Center, Paulson Institute