More opportunities for green cooperation as China, Europe lead fight against climate change

International Cooperation

World leaders, who took part in a virtual climate summit on Saturday, recognized the importance of tackling climate change, in the process of which China and European countries are finding more common ground and opportunities for cooperation.

XinhuaUpdated: December 14, 2020

World leaders, who took part in a virtual climate summit on Saturday, recognized the importance of tackling climate change, in the process of which China and European countries are finding more common ground and opportunities for cooperation.

On Saturday, dozens of leaders from both developed and developing countries and international organizations as well as business leaders attended the virtual Climate Ambition Summit, which aims to make new commitments to tackling climate change and delivering on the Paris Agreement.

New commitments were outlined at the summit, which is co-convened by the United Nations, Britain and France in partnership with Chile and Italy.

This is a clear signal that the Paris Agreement is working to steeply increase climate action and ambition.

"And so my message to you all, is that together we can use scientific advances to protect our entire planet, our biosphere against a challenge far worse, far more destructive even than coronavirus," said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the summit.


The summit showed that a challenge like global warming "can bring countries, groups and individuals together in a common cause", Martin Albrow, a renowned British sociologist, told Xinhua.

Under this common cause, countries like China and those in Europe are taking actions.

China aims to have CO2 emissions peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. The country has also pledged further commitments for 2030 to contribute more to tackling the global climate challenge.

China will lower its carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by over 65 percent from the 2005 level, increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 25 percent, increase the forest stock volume by 6 billion cubic meters from the 2005 level, and bring its total installed capacity of wind and solar power to over 1.2 billion kilowatts.

Beijing's climate efforts are welcomed by experts.

The fact that China is taking such measures is helping to change the mentalities of people around the world, and to make them aware of the issues that are essential for the future of our societies, said Prof. Leon Laulusa, executive vice president of ESCP Business School.

"A large and influential nation like China committing to positive climate change goals can only be a good thing," Hannah Cloke, professor of hydrology at the University of Reading, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

European countries are also making significant strides in contributing to the global fight against climate change.

Leaders of the European Union (EU) reached an agreement to cut the regional bloc's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55 percent by the end of next decade from the 1990 level, European Council President Charles Michel announced on Friday.

The member states green-lighted the European Commission's proposal to toughen the bloc's medium-term target as part of the long-term goal to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.

Earlier this month, Johnson announced a new target that will see the country committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 68 percent by the end of the decade compared to 1990 levels.


The EU and China have both committed to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions, thus creating common ground for much deeper cooperation, Laurence Tubiana, France's former top negotiator for climate change, said recently on the Project Syndicate website.

This cooperation does not necessarily have to be limited to the national level, and partnerships between cities, regions, provinces and industries have shown great potential, said Tubiana.

In September, Carmaker Volkswagen Group China announced that it is planning to invest a total of roughly 15 billion euros (about 17.5 billion U.S. dollars) together with its joint ventures in e-mobility between 2020 and 2024.↵

Pursuing a strategy of electrification and digitization, Volkswagen planned to produce a total of 15 different new energy vehicle (NEV) models locally by 2025, with 35 percent of the product portfolio in China made up of fully-electric models.

"As China and the rest of the world face the challenge of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can now see that investments in sustainable physical and natural capital yield results that can be realized quickly, and create plenty of job opportunities. Sustainable investments are the route to a strong economic recovery," wrote Nicholas Stern, chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, in a commentary.

Renewable energy sector is a key area in green cooperation between China and Britain and other European countries.

In March 2019, The TUS-ORE Catapult Research Center (TORC), a joint UK-China offshore wind research facility, opened in Yantai in East China's Shandong Province.

TORC acts as a leading renewable energy technology research and development center with unique links into both Britain and China to support the growth of their respective offshore wind industries.

It will develop collaborative research programs, support market entry and incubation for British businesses in China, and provide commercial support for Chinese offshore wind developers.

"China is the leader of renewable energy markets and our data show that it will remain by far the largest country in the coming years," said Heymi Bahar, senior analyst of renewable energy markets and policy at the International Energy Agency (IEA).

China's installed capacity of renewable energy sources has been growing by an average annual rate of 12 percent since 2016, with new energy sources like wind and solar power taking up over half of the total installed capacity of renewable energy sources, according to official figures.

In the future, China could accelerate the development of a renewable economy, zero-emissions transportation, continued reforestation and greening, and develop organic agriculture and environment-friendly buildings, said Hans-Josef Fell, founder of German thinktank Energy Watch Group, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

He said that the trade of environmental technologies and goods between China and the rest of the world will create a lot of jobs.