Cooperation on climate change is a high priority for the EU and China. In 2005, the EU and China agreed to form a Climate Change Partnership to provide a high-level framework for cooperation and dialogue on climate change policies, to exchange views on key issues in the international climate change negotiations and encourage low carbon technology development and uptake. This was reinforced in the latest joint statement on climate change at the 2015 EU-China summit, where the two sides expressed their commitment to low-carbon development and to cooperating in the context of the UN climate conventions. They further agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation in a number of areas:
- domestic emissions reduction policies
- carbon markets
- low-carbon cities
- carbon capture and storage (CCS)
- greenhouse gas emissions from the aviation and maritime industries, and
- hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)
China and the EU share a strong focus on green transformation. China’s 13th Five Year Plan sets a clear path towards green development, whilst the EU is working towards green growth under the goals of Europe 2020 and the 7th Environmental Action Programme.
The main channels for EU-China environmental dialogue with the Chinese government are:
- the Environment Policy Dialogue (EPD), held at ministerial level (since 2003), under which were agreed in 2017;
- the Bilateral Cooperation Mechanism (BCM) on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance and Trade (FLEGT), with the Chinese State Forestry Administration, to tackle illegal logging and associated trade through domestic measures (information, legal frameworks and policies) and through joint work with other countries, including in South East Asia and Africa to stem the trade in illegally logged timber; The EU FLEGT Action Plan includes the EU Timber Regulation, which aims to reduce illegal logging by ensuring that no illegal timber or timber products can be sold in the EU. The new briefing note on developments relevant to the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation covering the period April to June 2017 is available here；
- through dialogue with other Chinese ministries and administrations responsible for issues including water resources, wildlife protection and CITES.
The EU plays a crucial role in supporting the China-Europe Water Platform (CEWP), established in 2012, to encourage an integrated approach to water management in China. The CEWP is a partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, involving many EU Member States. It promotes policy dialogue on water sector reforms and encourages capacity-building, technical and business cooperation.
The 8th EU-China Energy Dialogue was held in Brussels between Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and the Administrator of the National Energy Administration of China Mr ZHANG Jianhua, back-to-back with the 21st EU-China Leaders’ Summit on 9 April 2019.
On the occasion, a Joint Statement on the implementation of EU-China Energy Cooperation was signed, in the presence of Donald Tusk, President of the Council of Europe, Dr Li Keqiang, Premier of China, and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission. The signature of the Joint Statement marks a new chapter in this long-standing and ongoing cooperation. Four priority areas for the future cooperation are identified with the overarching goal to further advance the clean energy transition:
- energy efficiency
- renewable energy sources
- design and transformation of the energy system
- the role of innovative actors
The EU-China energy Cooperation Platform (ECECP) has been established as a practical tool to support and operationalise the Energy Dialogue and to deliver on the specific objectives of EU-China bilateral energy cooperation. The overall objective of the project is to enhance EU-China cooperation on energy, in line with the EU’s Energy Union, the Clean Energy for All European initiative and Paris Agreement on Climate Change. This enhanced cooperation will help increase mutual trust and understanding between EU and China and contribute to a global transition towards clean energy on the basis of a common vision of a sustainable, reliable and secure energy system. The Platform is jointly steered by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and the Chinese National Energy Administration. In addition to supporting policy dialogue and cooperation, the Platform will also create opportunities for EU innovative energy companies.
In mid-May 2019, the Platform was officially launched in Beijing; and in early July, a big conference titled "Promoting and Integrating Renewable Energy in China: Challenges and Opportunities" was organized, providing an opportunity for participants from various Chinese governmental bodies, research entities, grid operators and regulators, as well as foreign experts and representatives of EU energy companies actives in China to discuss policies and identify solutions to support integration of variable renewables in the energy system of China. In the second half of 2019, under the platform, other events (workshops, conferences and site visits) on various energy topics, e.g. energy efficiency, electricity market, and renewables, are scheduled.
Joint Statement on the Implementation of the EU-China Cooperation on Energy