Sunday 25 February 2018

EU and China backing Paris climate pact after Trump withdrawal

Donald Tusk, Li Keqiang and Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU-China summit in Brussels (AP)
Donald Tusk, Li Keqiang and Jean-Claude Juncker at the EU-China summit in Brussels (AP)
Li Keqiang, right, meets Donald Tusk in Brussels (AP)

Chinese premier Li Keqiang and leading officials from the European Union are reaffirming their commitment to a landmark climate change agreement, a day after Donald Trump said he was pulling the US out of the Paris accord.

Climate issues are expected to dominate discussions between Mr Li, who is leading a large delegation of ministers to Brussels, and EU Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Speaking to European business leaders alongside the Chinese leader, Mr Juncker said EU-China ties are underpinned by "a rules-based international system".

He said Brussels and Beijing believe in "the full implementation, without nuances, of the Paris climate agreement", and underlined there can be "no backsliding" on the pact.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the US president's move "can't and won't stop all those of us who feel obliged to protect the planet".

At their short summit, the EU and China - two of the world's major polluters - are set to issue a statement reaffirming their stance on global warming following Mr Trump's announcement on Thursday.

According to a draft, they will express their determination "to forge ahead with further policies and measures for effective implementation of their respective nationally determined contributions".

They will also "call on all parties to uphold the Paris agreement" and "to strengthen efforts over time, in accordance with the purpose and provisions of the agreement".

Separately on Thursday, France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement that they regretted the US decision to withdraw from the accord, while affirming their "strongest commitment" to implement its measures.

They also encouraged "all our partners to speed up their action to combat climate change".

While Mr Trump said the US would be willing to rejoin the accord if it could obtain more favourable terms, the three European leaders said the agreement cannot be renegotiated, "since it is a vital instrument for our planet, societies and economics".

Germany's environment minister underscored that on Friday, saying "there will be no new deal with the United States" on climate change.

Barbara Hendricks told reporters in Berlin that other countries will fill the leadership vacuum left by the US but none will be expected to make up the shortfall in emissions reductions caused by Washington's exit.

She added that the global climate would "survive" Mr Trump's maximum presidential term of eight years.


Press Association

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