EU should set its top emissions target

By Fu Jing
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, November 17, 2014
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 [By Gou Ben/]

With the world making efforts to drum up a new decisive deal on curbing greenhouse gas emissions for the 2020 to 2030 period in Paris next year, it seems that Brussels and Washington have also started to jostle for global leadership in climate governance.

Shortly after Beijing and Washington agreed a climate deal on Wednesday during Obama's visit to China for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting, there was an official statement from Brussels saying it welcomed the deal, but nonetheless attributing it to being a response to the ambitious plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions unveiled by the European Union in late October.

In Beijing, the United States committed to emitting 26 to 28 percent less carbon in 2025 based on its emissions in 2005, while China promised its carbon emissions would peak around 2030 and it would accelerate making renewable energy sources account for 20 percent of its mix by 2030. The 28 member countries of the EU, however, have agreed to cut 40 percent of their carbon emissions by 2030 from the 1990 base.

To some extent, this competition for global leadership is very positive, especially if everybody is willing to walk the talk on their carbon emissions reduction pledges.

But global climate leadership has at least three other fronts now. First, countries need to take concrete actions to reduce their carbon emissions without setting up preconditions for their actions. Second, the richer countries need to provide financial help to mitigate the effects of climate change on poor and vulnerable countries. This help has been promised but so far little has materialized. Third, the developed economies should speed up their clean-tech product transfer to developing countries.

China has done its part in these areas, no less than the EU and the US. It has improved its energy efficiency over the last decade, it has shared its experience and extended a helping hand to other developing countries under the South-South cooperation framework and it has been exporting solar panels, hydro power technology and even electric vehicles to other countries.

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