EU climate chief urges ‘decisive’ joint action with China on climate crisis

BEIJING (Reuters) – The European Union’s climate chief Frans Timmermans on Tuesday called for faster and more decisive joint action with China to tackle the “accelerating” climate crisis, as China gears up to ensure power supplies amid extreme heat this summer.

Timmermans, who is in Beijing for climate talks, met with Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang at the Diaoyutai state guest house on Tuesday, where China’s leaders have traditionally received senior foreign visitors.

Humanity is confronted with a “triple crisis”, namely global warming, a loss of biodiversity and pollution, Timmermans said.

“The crises are accelerating. If we want to contain them,we need to act faster and more decisively than we have done so far,” Timmermans told Ding, adding that coordinated action between China and the EU could inspire global action.

Ding said that environment and climate have always been the focus of China-EU cooperation. He called for improved outcomes from the cooperation through high-level dialogues.

On Monday, Timmermans said China should peak its carbon emissions faster as the global carbon budget rapidly shrinks.

“China is still building additional coal power capacities, substantial ones, which are, I think we can agree on that, the dirtiest way to generate electricity,” he said in a speech at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, according to a statement from the EU.

China has pledged to reduce its coal consumption, but not until 2026.

Chinese officials on Monday asked power plants and coal suppliers to do “everything possible” to ensure electricity supply this summer, as more cities swelter under scorching temperatures.

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard, Ethan Wang and David Stanway; Editing by Christina Fincher)