Brussels : Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and top officials from the European Union are on Friday set to reaffirm their commitment to a landmark climate change agreement, a day after President Donald Trump said he was pulling the United States out of the Paris accord.
Climate issues are expected to dominate discussions between 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 Li, Juncker said EU-China ties are underpinned by "a rules-based international system."
He said that Brussels and Beijing believe in "the full implementation, without nuances, of the Paris climate agreement," and underlined that there can be "no backsliding" on the pact.
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 Trump's announcement 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, European heavyweights France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement that they regretted the United States' decision to withdraw from the accord, while reaffirming their "strongest commitment" to implement its measures. They also encouraged "all our partners to speed up their action to combat climate change."
While Trump said the United States 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 United States 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" Trump's maximum presidential term of eight years.
Hendricks noted that the absence of $500 million contributions from the United States to the Green Climate Fund will be felt from 2018, but said it might be possible to fill the gap with "other financing mechanisms, for example through the World Bank."
Published Date: Jun 02, 2017 03:00 pm | Updated Date: Jun 02, 2017 03:00 pm