Climate Weekly: EU-China climate progress stalls

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(Photo: Friends of Europe)


China is resuming coal power plant builds at home and financing coal projects around the world, including in Greece, Romania and Balkan states. The EU is veering off track for its 2020 energy efficiency target. Both have been urged to bring new climate action to the UN in September.

There is no shortage of climate issues for the two economic giants to discuss at next Tuesday’s summit in Brussels. But while there will be a high-level dialogue on energy, no climate announcements are expected.

It is an awkward time politically for either side to offer new commitments: EU is heading for parliamentary elections and a commission changeover; China is developing its five-year plan for 2020-25.

Trade tensions are set to dominate the meeting. Eight EU member states are prepared to veto any joint statement unless China gives more ground, Euractiv reports.

“Mistrust is increasing on both sides. It is really, really a concern. But we need to engage,” Laurence Tubiana, head of the European Climate Foundation, told Climate Home News. “The minimum I would hope is that this will be a warming up for the [UN secretary general’s] summit in September.”

Here’s what the two powers agreed in 2018.

Climate conversations

Courts must curb greenhouse gas emissions to protect our liberty – Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund

‘Safe space’

Tubiana is backing the creation of an independent ombudsman to handle complaints of bullying and harassment in the climate movement.

As a Climate Home News investigation revealed last week, it took a suicide and multiple complaints before Climate Action Network took action against its now former boss.

Many people reacting to the article have indicated abuses of power may be underreported throughout the sector, due to the absence of safe channels for raising concerns.

If you have been affected by bullying or harassment in the international climate space, you can get in touch confidentially. To contact us securely, you can set up a free, encrypted ProtonMail account here and email [email protected].

Eye on IEA

Climate advocates have long complained the International Energy Agency is overly conservative in its outlook for the world energy mix.

This week, 60 scientists, business leaders and campaigners got it together to send a letter, accusing the agency of normalising a dangerous climate future. They called for a new scenario compatible with holding warming to 1.5C and relabelling of the business-as-usual option.

The IEA insists its assessment of what is *likely* to happen is not what it *wants* to see. Critics counter that governments and businesses use its central case to guide investment decisions – so fossil-heavy forecasts become self-fulfilling.

Quick hits

Read more on: Climate politics