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2021-11-17 | All chapters

European Chamber Stance on the Outcome of COP26

Background

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP26) took place in Glasgow, Scotland, during which countries updated their plans for reducing emissions, and reviewed commitments made under the Paris Agreement, the main outcome from COP21, in particular the commitment to limit temperature increases within 1.5 Celsius.

The main outcome of COP26, the Glasgow Climate Pact, has been welcomed for its request for countries to provide more ambitious climate pledges in 2022. However, it has also been criticised for failing to provide poorer nations with the money needed to tackle unavoidable impacts of climate change. 

Additionally, progress has been made regarding the international carbon trading rules (i.e., the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement) as a result from COP26. Other important initiatives such as the Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement, the US-China Joint Glasgow Declaration on Enhancing Climate Action in the 2020s, the Global Methane Pledge, and the Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, have also been developed outside the formal negotiation process.

Stance

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (European Chamber) recognises that the Glasgow Climate Pact represents an important step in global cooperation on climate change. In addition to the pact itself, other important developments that came out of the meeting will provide additional impetus for all parties to further step-up efforts to limit dangerous climate change. 

The European Chamber’s member companies look forward to working with China to help deliver on the ambitious climate pledges that it has made.

In recent years, China’s central government has set in motion a transformation of the country’s economy, prioritising growth in new and emerging sectors that are less energy intensive and polluting. Most recently, the ‘1+N’ policy framework has set the direction for China's green transition, providing political guidance for China's climate policies in the coming years. Realising this plan will require changes in all sectors of the Chinese economy. At the same time, the EU Green Deal is transforming Europe’s economy, and there is much that China and Europe can engage on further in order to jointly realise the ambitious decarbonisation plans of both sides.

The European Chamber is encouraged by the Joint Communiqué that followed the Second EU-China High Level Environment and Climate Dialogue in September 2021, in which both sides “agreed to continue and expand the cooperation”, in a range of areas, including emissions trading, climate legislation, energy efficiency, circular economy, renewable energy, green transportation, green buildings and green finance.

“The European Chamber is confident in our members’ ability to make significant contributions to China’s low-carbon transition, provided they have market access in relevant sectors and are given the opportunity to compete on a level playing field,” said Huw Slater, chair of the European Chamber’s Carbon Market Sub-working Group. “We will continue to facilitate joint efforts between the EU and China in addressing the global challenge of limiting climate change.”

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Shihui Tang

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