China, EU in pledge to get Paris climate deal

2015-06-15 22:10
 Li Keqiang (Picture: AFP)

Li Keqiang (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - China, the world's biggest polluter, will sign a joint pledge with the European Union this month to seek a UN agreement to tackle climate change as one of "the greatest threats facing humanity," according to a draft statement seen by Reuters.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will endorse the statement at a June 29 summit in Brussels with EU leaders, who are seeking to ratchet up the pressure for a deal at the Paris climate conference late this year, EU officials said.

"The EU and China recognise their critical roles in combating global climate change, one of the greatest threats facing humanity," the draft final summit communique said.

"The seriousness of the challenge calls upon the two sides to work constructively together for the common good in the context of sustainable economic and social development," the statement said.

While couched in diplomatic language, the fact that Beijing is willing to subscribe to such a document may help build momentum for the Paris conference.

Major emitters are hoping to avoid a repeat of the failed Copenhagen UN summit in 2009, the last attempt to reach a global climate deal, which foundered partly due to Chinese and US reluctance to make binding commitments.

China's greater enthusiasm for a deal in Paris contrasts with the run-up to Copenhagen, when it resisted calls for any international system for monitoring curbs on emissions.

It is happier with the outline of a Paris deal, under which promised emissions cuts are likely to be overseen by national laws, rather than by any international supervision.

China has always sought special consideration on the grounds that it should be allowed to develop its economy as Western countries did in the 20th century.

But increasingly it acknowledges the need to grow in a sustainable way and has sought to confront domestic pollution, which has led to outbreaks of social unrest.

Set target

Premier Li said last week that China sets itself a target of peak carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 or sooner if possible.

Other elements of the EU-China summit draft include a promise to step up cooperation on carbon markets in which industry trades in a limited number of permits to emit CO2.

China has already sought guidance from the European Commission in setting up pilot emissions markets, modelled on the evolving EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and says it is well on the way to rolling out a national ETS.

Aviation emissions within the European Union require ETS permits, but efforts to expand the arrangement to international aviation caused an outcry, with China among those most critical of what it said was an attack on its sovereignty. That forced the EU to back down.

Now the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN body, is working on a global scheme to regulate aviation emissions.

In the joint statement, the EU and China will call for "a timely agreement in ICAO on a global market-based measure in 2016". They also called for progress at the International Maritime Organization in curbing emissions by shipping.

Read more on:    li keqiang  |  paris  |  climate change

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.