“We now have to speak to China,” mentioned Europe’s local weather chief earlier than COP26

LONDON – International leaders must speak to China and convince the nation to take concrete steps towards decarbonisation, 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 plants abroad. The country has also stated that it wants to become climate neutral by 2060 and that it will peak in emissions by 2030. However, European officials want these ambitions to go beyond words and to be followed up with immediate and concrete action.

“We have to look at the emissions. Europe is responsible for around 8% of global emissions – we are making a very, very serious commitment and we are going very far. The United States is back in the game, it is responsible, I think about 16% of the emissions, but we have to talk to China, they are responsible for about 28% of the world’s emissions, “said Frans Timmermans, vice-chairman of the European Commission for the European Green Deal Steve Sedgwick from CNBC.

“We have to convince them to peak before 2030, much sooner, and we have to convince them to develop plans to decarbonise their economy,” Timmermans said.

He shared the view of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU.

“The goals that President Xi has set for China are encouraging. But we are calling for the same leadership when it comes to how China will get coal at home and abroad, “von der Leyen told European lawmakers earlier this month.

So far, the EU has presented one of the most concrete plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In a far-reaching package called “Fit for 55” at the beginning of summer, the Commission outlined how the 27 EU members can reduce emissions by at least 55% by the end of this decade.

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

Timmermans stated that without China’s participation in the last major global climate conference in Paris in 2015, the then groundbreaking agreement would not have come about.

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

There are question marks as to how successful the upcoming COP26 meeting will be. It’s the first of its kind after the coronavirus pandemic, and many governments are still grappling with the economic costs of lockdowns and social restrictions.

Roberto Cingolani, Minister for Ecological Transformation in Italy, hopes richer nations will announce they are increasing their contributions to help other countries finance the carbon transition.

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

He added that the world has not done enough about climate change and it is time to listen to people like activist Greta Thunberg.

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

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