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China and Europe discover deeper consensus in helping environment

By HOU LIQIANG and OUYANG SHIJIA | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-05-10 07:24

China-Europe cooperation on the environment and climate is of special significance amid the escalating global climate crisis and sluggish world economy, and China looks forward to consolidating consensus with Europe to boost confidence in global environmental and climate governance, officials said.

In an exclusive interview with China Daily, Zhou Guomei, director-general of the Department of International Cooperation of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, stressed that China and Europe are key drivers in the global environmental and climate governance process.

The environment and climate have always been focal points of China-Europe cooperation, representing one of the earliest areas of collaboration and a consensus-building topic in high-level exchanges, she noted.

China and Europe have been actively promoting bilateral and multilateral cooperation to address climate change and environmental concerns since the mid-1990s, she added.

That cooperation has evolved into the China-European Union High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue, a vice-prime ministerial-level mechanism, and separate ministerial dialogues on environmental policy and climate change, she stated.

"Since the establishment of the high-level dialogue in 2020, leaders from China and Europe have repeatedly emphasized the need to work together to address global challenges such as climate change and deepen the China-Europe green partnership," Zhou said.

They have so far held four high-level dialogues, she said, and have reached important consensus on cooperation in areas such as climate, environment, energy transition and the circular economy.

These dialogues have not only resulted in a list of 17 cooperation outcomes, but also specified the focuses of future cooperation, and enriched the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU, she added.

"Currently, global issues such as climate change, energy security, environmental pollution and biodiversity conservation are becoming increasingly prominent, necessitating enhanced unity, cooperation and effective joint efforts to tackle global environmental and climate challenges," she stressed.

Against this backdrop, China and Europe have huge potential for cooperation in renewable energy, green low-carbon technology, green transportation, carbon trading markets, climate adaptation, biodiversity conservation and chemical management, she said.

"China looks forward to fostering greater consensus, enhancing mutual trust, enriching and expanding practical green and low-carbon cooperation with the European side under the high-level dialogue mechanism, with focuses in some key sectors ... to jointly boost confidence in global environmental and climate governance," the official noted.

Zhou also depicted long-standing and close environmental cooperation between China and France.

In 2019, for example, the leaders of both countries issued the "Beijing Call for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change", clearly identifying biodiversity conservation and climate change as priority areas for future cooperation, she said.

Upon China's invitation, French President Emmanuel Macron visited China in April 2023. The countries made a joint statement during the visit, confirming that tackling climate change and conserving biodiversity are their common priorities, the official added.

Also in an exclusive interview with China Daily, Pan Jiang, director of the Department of International Cooperation at the National Development and Reform Commission, emphasized cooperation on green development as the topic with the highest consensus between Chinese and European leaders in recent years.

"The common concept China and Europe hold in green and sustainable development has laid a solid foundation for their cooperation in green and low-carbon development," he said.

With complementary advantages in industries, technologies, funds and markets, he said China and Europe have vast and enormous potential for cooperation in green development, especially against the backdrop of the accelerated low-carbon transformation around the globe.

"We are willing to enhance exchanges and collaboration with the EU and European countries in energy transition, energy conservation and efficiency, circular economy, green technologies, and related regulations and standards.

"Together, we aim to promote the development of green and low-carbon technologies and industries for the benefit of people in all countries, making a greater contribution to global efforts in addressing climate change and achieving sustainable economic and social development," he said.


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