China, Canada and EU band together on climate change

A giant globe dressed with a life jacket during a protest by environmental activists from Greenpeace outside the venue of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin on Tuesday. China, Canada and the European Union will convene a ministerial-level meet
A giant globe dressed with a life jacket during a protest by environmental activists from Greenpeace outside the venue of the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin on Tuesday. China, Canada and the European Union will convene a ministerial-level meeting in support of the Paris accord in September, even as the United States has indicated it may scrap the deal.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • China, Canada and the European Union are joining forces to advance the Paris Agreement, while President Donald Trump is still deciding whether the United States should stick with the landmark deal on climate change.

Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, EU Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete and Chinese special envoy for climate change Xie Zhenhua met on Tuesday in Berlin to discuss climate leadership and how to maintain momentum if the US pulls out of the Paris Agreement.

In September, the three will convene a ministerial-level meeting in support of the Paris accord, Mr Canete said in an e-mail.

The collaboration between the three countries is another sign that Mr Trump, and the US, will become isolated from the rest of the world. Almost 200 nations pledged to fight climate change when the Paris deal was signed in 2015, and since then, only the US has indicated it may step off that path.

"It's very important that we continue the shared programmes on climate change," Ms McKenna said in an interview at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"There is a need to bring together key players. We think that China, Canada and the EU are in a good position to bring together other countries at the ministerial level to have high-level discussions about how we're going to move forward on the Paris Agreement," she added.

Mr Trump has given mixed signals about the fate of the Paris deal under his administration.

He has called climate change a hoax and said during his campaign last year he would scrap the deal if elected. Since then, he has said he would keep an open mind but has prioritised stimulating fossil fuels and especially coal, which conflicts with US promises under the deal. Mr Trump's advisers are divided on the issue.

Germany is assuming that Mr Trump will indicate the position the US will take regarding the Paris accord at a Group of Seven summit in Sicily tomorrow and Saturday, Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said at the climate conference in Berlin on Monday.

Signatory states of the Paris accord would not let their agenda be derailed whatever the outcome of Mr Trump's decision and subsequent policy, Dr Merkel indicated on Tuesday.

"We are often asked about our position when looking at the US uncertainty," said China's Mr Xie. "The Paris Agreement is a hard-won achievement, and all signatories should stick to it instead of walking away. China will stick to its word."

The United Nations climate conference, which Germany is hosting this year in Bonn, is pressing ahead with its agenda, Dr Merkel said on Tuesday. Global warming is "something that concerns us all" and we must "uphold the spirit of Paris", she told delegates.

Concerns were also raised by a number of global corporate and political leaders, including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, which said that bringing growth and climate-change agendas together could lift 2050 economic output by as much as 2.8 per cent, a report released on Tuesday said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2017, with the headline 'China, Canada and EU band together on climate change'. Print Edition | Subscribe