The European Union has indicated it will work closely with China to prevent the US from backsliding on its commitment to the Paris climate agreement.
The message was delivered by a 12-strong European Parliament delegation before it left for Marrakech, Morocco, for the second week of the UN climate change conference.
Parties that have approved the global pact will start their first talks at the conference, and President Xi Jinping and United States President Barack Obama have signed three presidential documents to inject special political will into the approval process.
Jo Leinen, vice-chair of the European Parliament delegation, said in an email on Friday that the EU and China should join forces in Marrakech to push forward the Paris agreement. Leinen said both played a key role as brokers among different “camps” in the Paris negotiations.
“This time, in Marrakech, China is expected to line up with the EU,” he said. “These two global powers should assume their responsibility by forming a new coalition with the aim of fighting for a progressive global climate policy.”
Jonathan Taylor, vice-president of the European Investment Bank, said on Friday that the bank will boost co-financing with China on climate mitigation projects, as part of future plans to raise the proportion of climate investment in developing countries to 35 percent of its overall lending in these countries by 2020.
Progress can be made in building road maps for the €90 billion investment plan, he said, referring to the 2010 pledge by developed nations in Cancun, Mexico, to raise €90 billion a year by 2020 to help developing countries cope with climate change.
However, “major divergences persist” on the funding plan after a weeklong negotiation, said Gu Zihua, a representative with the Chinese delegation, amid a possible threat from US President-elect Donald Trump.
Shigeru Ushio, Japan’s chief negotiator, said a US withdrawal from the Paris agreement would be “serious”.
Kenneth Berlin, CEO of the Climate Reality Project, which was founded by former US vice-president Al Gore, warned that Trump’s election could overshadow climate talks and is a disaster for international efforts to tackle climate change.
“If Trump follows through with his plan to withdraw, other developed nations will need to fill the place of the US.”