EU official hails positive talks in China on climate
European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans said he had a "very positive "visit to China in the last couple of days to discuss with Chinese officials on working together in tackling the global climate crisis. Timmermans was in China to attend the fourth China-EU Highlevel Environment and Climate Dialogue in Beijing on Tuesday. He met with Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang and China's Special Envoy on Climate Change Xie Zhenhua. "I am extremely encouraged by the visit I had in China over the last couple of days," Timmermans told a news conference on Wednesday in response to a question by China Daily. "The strong feeling I have is that China subscribes to our analysis that whatever differences we may have, and we also addressed the differences we have tackling the climate crisis transcends these political differences." Timmermans, who is responsible for the European Union's signature Green Deal and climate action, hopes the talks he had in Beijing and the agreement to work together in preparation for COP28 could also happen when US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry visits China in the near future. "Because I have experience in previous COPs, if we are able to work together, United States, China and the European Union, we can achieve a lot in terms of reaching conclusions in COPs," he said. COP28, or the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be held in the United Arab Emirates' Dubai city from Nov 30 to Dec 12. A KPMG report last year warned that geopolitical issues risk derailing meaningful progress at UN climate conferences. "If mutually agreeable solutions to tackle climate change were hard to find in a globalized world where some form of international consensus existed, they will become even more quixotic at a time of mistrust and polarizing political division between nations," the report stated, citing issues such as the Russia-Ukraine conflict and tensions between China and the United States. Timmermans said "we can achieve a lot" if major emitters are serious about reducing emissions, and countries are serious about the challenges faced by small island and African states, and giving them the finances as promised. "And our ambition is to make a success of COP28, and that's a shared ambition between China and the European Union. So, I came back really encouraged," he said. The world's wealthiest nations pledged at COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009 to provide $100 billion a year to less developed nations by 2020 for climate adaptation and mitigation, but that promise has failed to materialize so far, triggering an outcry from many poor developing nations vulnerable to climate change. Timmermans expressed that there are differences and it is going to be difficult, but the global effect of climate change is serious. "We have a common interest in making sure that we take the world forward, not create a slower pace than we had before," he said.