9 june 2015

EU, China Said to Ready Climate Pact in June Before Global Deal

by Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg, June 9, 2015

The European Union and China are planning an agreement this month on fighting climate change before nations worldwide gather to iron out a global emissions-cutting deal, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The pact to be signed June 29 will promote closer ties in using low-emission technologies and developing carbon markets and sustainable cities, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks remain under way. The EU-China summit on the 29th will touch upon the issue of climate change, Elina Bardram, the bloc’s chief negotiator, said June 5 in Bonn.

“The G-20 nations alone account for 75 percent of global emissions, and China is one-third of that,” she told reporters during UN climate talks. “So having China as a partner in the international agreement on moving forward is really important. We continue to discuss very intensely with China.”

China, the world’s largest emitter, and the EU, which wants to lead the global fight against climate change, will highlight the need for a successful emissions-reduction deal to be sealed at December’s United Nations conference in Paris, the people said. The EU operates the biggest global cap-and-trade program.

Envoys from more than 190 countries aim to reach an agreement that would for the first time wrest commitments from both developed and developing nations. It’s intended to build on the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required pollution reductions only in industrialized nations and set no limits for developing ones like China and India, where emissions have skyrocketed.

Binding Targets

The 28-nation EU, accounting for about 10 percent of global emissions, agreed together with several other mostly European nations to adopt binding greenhouse-gas reduction goals under Kyoto’s second commitment period until 2020. European leaders endorsed in October a goal of a 40 percent domestic pollution cut for 2030 from 1990 levels, accelerating the pace from a 20 percent target for 2020.

Chinese President Xi Jinping last year pledged that his country’s emissions would peak by 2030. A study by U.K. academics showed Monday that Chinese greenhouse-gas discharges are set to start falling five years earlier, suggesting the nation is acting faster than promised to shift to clean energy from fossil fuels.

The goal for the new global agreement will be to contain the rise in temperatures since the Industrial Revolution to no more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). That’s a target that even Christiana Figueres, the UN diplomat spearheading talks, has said may be beyond the capability of the Paris conference.

Show of Unity

The Group of Seven nations on Monday threw their weight behind a plan to stamp out fossil-fuel emissions by the end of the century in an unprecedented show of unity on climate change. G-7 leaders agreed at a summit hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel in southern Germany that nations should aim for cuts near 70 percent of 2010 levels by mid-century.

The planned EU-China pact is unlikely to include any new carbon-reduction goals or pledges on peaking emissions, the two people said. Rather, the agreement will underline political willingness to seek a deal during the two-week talks in France, where developing nations are set to spar with richer countries over issues including financing and transfer of technologies.

EU-China climate cooperation dates back to the signing in 2005 of a joint declaration on closer ties in expanding clean energy and promoting sustainable development and low-carbon technologies.

The commission is also engaged in technical cooperation with China on the nation’s pilot carbon market, the second-biggest globally. Europe is considering linking its market with other carbon systems in the future. Last month the commission launched a Mandarin-language version of its website on climate change.

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