In a high-level meeting in September 2020, the EU and China announced the establishment of a High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue (HECD) between China and the EU.
European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China Han Zheng held their second HECD on 27 September 2021 and reaffirmed that the HECD will continue to be a key platform to enhance actions and bilateral cooperation on environment and in the fight against climate change. They discussed various aspects of the global climate and biodiversity crises, with a focus on the forthcoming UNFCCC COP26 in Glasgow and on COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming.
At the conclusion of the discussion:
1. They reaffirmed the urgency of taking immediate action to fight climate change in the context of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, notably in the light of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the recent dramatic natural disasters that affected many thousands of people in China and the EU and elsewhere in the world.
2. They recalled that the EU and China are committed to showing climate action leadership.
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said that “the EU has raised its economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions reduction target from at least 40% to at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels and will achieve climate neutrality by 2050.To this end the EU has launched the “Fit for 55” package. This set of proposals includes: application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System; increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them; an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow our natural carbon sinks”.
3. Vice-Premier Han Zheng said that “China strives to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. To achieve this goal, China is formulating adequate policies (the "1+N" policy system) to be released soon to ensure the achievement of the peak and neutrality goals. China will strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th Five-Year Plan period and phase it down in the 15th Five-Year Plan period. China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.”
4. Both sides emphasized the importance of working together to ensure the success of the UNFCCC as the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change. They are firmly committed to working together, and with other Parties, to strengthen the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, and acknowledge the existential challenge both climate change and biodiversity pose to humankind.
5. The EU has submitted its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution and long-term climate-neutral strategy to the UNFCCC. China will submit its enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution and mid-century long-term low greenhouse-gas emission development strategy before UNFCCC COP26. China and the EU are confident that they can inspire other countries to join their efforts.
6. Both sides will cooperate to promote a successful COP26 in Glasgow. They will work together, and with other Parties, to achieve the complete implementation of the Paris Agreement, in particular Article 6, and to advance global climate ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance.
Both sides recognise that accelerating the development of alternatives to fossil fuel energies will allow us to achieve the Paris Agreement’s targets. They commit to strengthen exchanges and discuss together policies, measures, and technologies to decarbonize industry and power. They acknowledge that inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption are not in line with these goals and will pursue their efforts to address this issue. In this context, they will continue their regular exchange on policy measures and good practices on the green low-carbon energy transitions under the political steering of the annual EU-China Energy Dialogue.
7. Both sides discussed in a constructive and positive manner on matters related to: enhancing climate ambition; delivering the commitment made by developed countries to mobilize USD 100 billion per year by 2020 and annually through 2025; the effective and complete implementation of the Paris Agreement; coal transitions; technology transfer as well as capacity building in developing countries. Both sides agreed to maintain and deepen their dialogue on these climate policies to foster mutual understanding, as a basis for greater bilateral cooperation and more effective domestic policies leading towards modern, competitive, prosperous and net zero greenhouse gas emission / carbon neutrality economies and societies.
8. Both sides agreed on the importance of carbon markets to promote the transition to a green, low-carbon development and recognised their fruitful cooperation in this field. Both sides are committed to pursue their bilateral cooperation to exchange views and experiences on effective carbon pricing in particular to develop further their Emissions Trading Systems.
9. Noticing the importance of mitigating non-CO2 greenhouse gases, such as methane and hydrofluorocarbons, for the achievement of the goals laid down in the Paris Agreement, the participants agreed to continue discussions and strengthen cooperation on these issues. Both sides also agreed to cooperate for the full implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
10. Acknowledging the scale of biodiversity crisis and urgency to act, both sides stressed that biodiversity loss is accelerated by climate change while itself exacerbating it. They also agreed that the EU and China should lead by example, and committed to stepping up action to protect, conserve and restore biodiversity and ecosystems noting that our wellbeing and prosperity rely on a healthy nature.
11. Both sides agreed to make joint efforts to facilitate an ambitious, realistic and balanced "post-2020 global biodiversity framework" to be adopted at the COP15 with clear and where feasible, measurable goals and targets and appropriate mechanisms for monitoring, reporting and review, as well as strong provisions for implementation and planning, and means to support implementation. This would aim at reversing the global biodiversity loss, and, by 2030, put nature on a path to recovery, and realize the 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature. China and EU will strengthen cooperation and work together to ensure all the success of the COP15 to be held in Kunming.
Both sides agreed to engage collaboratively in support of reducing global deforestation through enhancing cooperation in conservation and sustainable management of forests, making supply chain more sustainable, and combating illegal logging and associated trade.
12. Both participants agreed to continue and expand the cooperation in the fields of biodiversity conservation, chemicals management, climate legislation, energy conservation and energy efficiency improvement, circular economy, renewable energy, green transportation, green buildings, green finance, CCUS and hydrogen energy etc.
13. The participants agreed on continuing the present dialogue in the existing configuration on a regular basis, at least annually.