The EU climate chief told CNBC on Tuesday ahead of the London-November COP26 climate conference that international leaders need to talk to China and persuade the country to take appropriate steps towards de-carbonization.
China announced earlier this month that it would stop building new coal-fired power projects abroad. The nation also said it aims to be carbon neutral by 2020 and that it will reach its highest mission by 2020.
“We need to look at emissions. Europe is responsible for about 8% of global emissions – we are taking very, very serious commitments and we are going too far. The United States is back in the game, they are responsible, I think, for about 16% of emissions, But we need to talk to China, they are responsible for about 28% of global emissions, “said Frances Timmermans, executive vice-president of the European Commission for the European Green Agreement.
“We need them to reach their peak before 2030, in sufficient quantities, and we need to convince them to come up with a plan to de-carbonate their economy,” Timmermans said.
He echoed an opinion of Ursula von der Lane, President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union.
“The goals that President Xi has set for China are encouraging. But we call on the same leadership to determine how China will get there. If they show that they can maximize emissions by the middle of the decade – and move coal at home and abroad,” Von said. Der Leyen told European lawmakers earlier this month.
The EU has so far presented a clear plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a comprehensive package called “Fit for 55”, the commission outlined earlier this summer how 27 EU members could reduce emissions by at least 55% by the end of the decade.
The package has not yet been approved by the European Parliament and the national government, but it does shed light on the goals of Brussels’ climate policy. But the bloc acknowledges that its efforts would be in vain without international cooperation.
Timmermans noted that without China’s participation in the last major global climate conference in Paris in 2015, there would have been no landmark agreement at that time.
“We need them in Glasgow again. I hope we can persuade them to be brave,” he said.
There are question marks over how successful the upcoming COP26 meeting will be. This is the first such rally in the wake of the coronavirus epidemic and many governments are still struggling with the economic costs of lockdown and social restrictions.
Italy’s Environmental Transformation Minister Roberto Singolani hopes rich countries will announce that they are increasing their contributions to help other countries finance carbon transitions.
“This is the right path, the coming weeks will be important. I hope we can land at COP26 by the end of October. We are all working towards this,” Singolani told CNBC’s Steve Sedguik on Tuesday.
He added that the world has not done enough to tackle climate change and that it is time to listen to people like activist Greta Thanberg.
“We have to respond properly to the push. We haven’t done enough yet. We can do more,” he said.