“We need to talk to China,” Europe’s climate chief said ahead of COP26

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LONDON – International leaders must speak to China and convince the nation to implement concrete steps towards decarbonization, the EU climate chief told CNBC on Tuesday ahead of the COP26 climate summit in November.

China announced earlier this month that it would stop building new coal-fired power projects abroad. The nation has also said it aims to become carbon neutral by 2060 and will peak in emissions by 2030. However, EU officials want those ambitions to go beyond words and be followed by immediate and concrete actions.

“We have to watch the emissions. Europe is responsible for about 8% of global emissions – we are making a very, very serious commitment and we are going a long way. The United States is back in the game, it is responsible, I think for about 16% of emissions, but we have to talk to China, it is responsible for about 28% of global emissions, “said Frans Timmermans, European Commission executive vice president for the European Green Deal. Steve CNBC’s Sedgwick.

“We have to convince them to peak before 2030, much sooner, and we have to convince them to come up with plans to decarbonize their economy,” said Timmermans.

It echoed a view shared by Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU.

“The goals President Xi has set for China are encouraging. But we call for that same leadership to determine how China will get there. The world would be relieved if they showed they could peak in emissions. here the middle of the decade – coal at home and abroad, “von der Leyen told EU lawmakers earlier this month.

The EU has so far presented one of the most specific plans on how it intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In a broad package called “Fit for 55”, the committee explained earlier this summer how the 27 members of the EU can reduce their emissions by at least 55% by the end of this decade.

The package has yet to be approved by the European Parliament and national governments, but it highlights Brussels’ climate policy goals. But the bloc recognizes that without international cooperation, its efforts will be in vain.

Timmermans noted that without China’s participation in the last major global climate conference in Paris in 2015, the historic deal at the time would not have happened.

“We need them again in Glasgow. I hope we can convince them to be bold,” he said.

There are question marks about the success of the next COP26 meeting. It is the first gathering of its kind in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and many governments are still grappling with the economic costs of lockdowns and social restrictions.

Roberto Cingolani, Italian Minister for the Ecological Transition, hopes that the richest countries will announce that they are increasing their contributions to support other countries in financing the carbon transition.

“This is the right track, the next few weeks will be crucial. I hope we can land at COP26 at the end of October with some good news. We are all working in this direction,” Cingolani told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick on Tuesday.

He added that the world hasn’t done enough on climate change and it’s time to listen to people like activist Greta Thunberg.

“We have to respond properly to the push. We haven’t done enough so far. We can do more,” he said.


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