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China Is Championing Itself As A Leader In Climate Change

06 June 2017

The opportunities for China are enormous, as it can step into the US role of providing technology and equipment transfer to developing nations to help them meet their commitments under the Paris agreement.

Speaking after the meeting, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said they had discussed with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (photo) both the steel issue and China's demand that after its 15-year-membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO), it should no longer be treated as a special case. He said, "I do respect this decision but I do think it is an actual mistake both for the USA and for our planet". "You're going to find out very soon", he said.

The EU and China will also "call on all parties to uphold the Paris agreement" and "to strengthen efforts over time, in accordance with the goal and provisions of the agreement".

"The U.S. withdrawal from Paris may slow down global progress on climate change, but will not reverse it, leaving the U.S.in catch-up mode regarding the clean energy transition", said Peter Kiernan of the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The joint statement, the first between the China and the European Union, is believed to commit to cutting back on fossil fuels, developing more green technology and helping raise US$100 billion (S$138 billion) a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut emissions.

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China, the world's largest polluter, has emerged as Europe's unlikely partner in this and other areas as Trump has isolated the United States on many issues.

"Today we are stepping up our cooperation on climate change with China", Tusk said after hosting the climate and trade talks with Chinese Premier Li.

"We don't need one flawless leader, need lots of countries, states, firms to step up, laud progress and expose unhelpful policies", Greenpeace's Myllyvirta tweeted.

A study by the Beijing-based Global Environmental Institute found China was involved in 240 coal power projects in Belt and Road countries between 2001 and 2016, with a total generating capacity of 251 gigawatts.

"India's pledge does make a partial link between implementation and financial support from the global community, but does not state that India would only make an effort to limit carbon if worldwide support is available", senior fellow Navroz K. Dubash said in an interview.

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Trump once called climate change a hoax.

The two countries will likely foster knowledge sharing with other nations, rather than creating super funds, such as India's founding of International Solar Alliance - a knowledge platform for sun-rich countries - with France in 2015, said Varad Pande, a former adviser to India's Environment Ministry and a member of India's climate negotiations team.

Yet seeing climate change largely in geopolitical terms, as a battle for supremacy between American and Chinese leadership, could be missing the point.

"It was a policy decision and I think it's important that everyone recognise the United States has a terrific record on reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions", Tillerson told reporters. China could move into the void that the Trump administration is rapidly vacating.

Trump has said he will announce his decision on Thursday afternoon USA time (3 p.m. EDT; 1900 GMT).

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British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain would continue to press the U.S.to reduce unsafe emissions even if Trump pulls out.

China Is Championing Itself As A Leader In Climate Change