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China and EU strengthen commitment to Paris deal with US poised to step away

The Guardian – By Daniel Boffey and Arthur Neslen in Brussels – Wednesday 31 May 2017

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Photo: European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and Chinese president Xi Jinping in 2016. The EU-China document describes climate change as a ‘national security issue’. Photograph: Reuters.

Beijing and Brussels to set up new alliance to reduce global carbon emissions.

China and the EU will forge an alliance to take a leading role in tackling climate change in response to Donald Trump’s expected decision to pull the US out of the historic Paris agreement.

Amid growing fears that the US will soon join Nicaragua and Syria on the small list of countries refusing to back the climate accord, signed in 2015, Beijing and Brussels have been preparing to announce their intention to accelerate joint efforts to reduce global carbon emissions.

According to a statement being prepared before an EU-China summit in Brussels on Thursday and Friday, the new alliance will say they are determined to “lead the energy transition” toward a low-carbon economy.

The EU’s climate commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, told the Guardian: “The EU and China are joining forces to forge ahead on the implementation of the Paris agreement and accelerate the global transition to clean energy.”

Cañete continued: “No one should be left behind, but the EU and China have decided to move forward. Our successful cooperation on issues like emissions trading and clean technologies are bearing fruit. Now is the time to further strengthen these ties to keep the wheels turning for ambitious global climate action.”

In their declaration, Brussels and Beijing will also call on all parties “to uphold the Paris agreement” and signal their “highest political commitment” to doing so themselves.

The document describes climate change as a “national security issue” and “multiplying factor of social and political fragility”. The Paris pact is a “historic achievement” and “irreversible”, the document says.

In a bid to calm jangling nerves in the developing world, the document reaffirms funding commitments and promises to bring forward new mid-century greenhouse gas reduction targets. The two blocs will also launch their first ever clean-energy cooperation, as well as measures on energy efficiency, low-emissions transport and low-carbon cooperation between cities.

“The EU-China agreement on the full implementation on international commitments under the Paris agreement becomes even more important,” one EU source said.

A senior EU official said there was a steely determination that the Paris agreement would not be allowed to unravel, having formally come into force last November. “This is not the end of the world,” she said.

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Posted by Teri Perticone

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